First Tourney Jitters

Well Sporty and her teammates had their first tournament this weekend and there were definitely some jitters, ok a lot of jitters, especially for Sporty.  I could just feel her nervous energy starting the day before and she didn’t settle down until after the first game.

The girls lost their first game 0-19!  They played some seriously good teams, the pitchers pitched so fast the girls couldn’t even decide to swing before the ball was in the catcher’s glove and the girls on the other teams were big, like I don’t know what they are feeding them in some of these cities but we need to get some of that out here.  And it was seriously hot, we’ve had record breaking heat out here and the girls played 3 games on Saturday on turf fields.  You could just feel the heat radiating off of them.  It was disgusting, I’m not a fan of turf especially since Young Jedi brought a bunch of the beads home with him.  Poor Sporty was so uncomfortable in her AFO on the field in her second game that she asked to be pulled mid- inning and had to take off her AFO.  It was just that hot!  She was so concerned about what Dr Fluffy Unicorn would say!  Sunday’s game was even hotter so I didn’t even have her try to put it on.  I’m like “don’t worry about Dr Fluffy Unicorn, I’ll take the heat!”  But seriously, she was miserable and it was turf so there wasn’t a chance of her rolling her ankle in a divot or uneven ground so I made the executive decision.

Overall Sporty had fun, I don’t think she quite fathomed the concept of 3 games in one day (with heat close to 100 degrees) when we told her about it.  Her first game was at 8am, then a 12:30 game, followed by a 4pm game.  So it was a LONG, HOT day!  It was definitely a learning experience for the girls but they had fun.  Sporty somehow sweet talked her dad into agreeing to buy her a new softball bat that is shorter and lighter than the one she currently has.  We need all of the bat speed that we can get!

The girls lost their first game 0-19, won their second game 8-7, and lost their third game 0-14 to put them on in the 12th seed (I think out of 16 teams).  They lost the first round in the Championships on Sunday in extra innings, it was heart breaking.  They were so close to advancing.

In other news, I overcame my fear of port-a-potties as that was my only option for 10 hours. Remember how I said it was close to 100 degrees???  Yeah, now that’s love!


Sporty getting ready to bat


After the last game of the tournament, still all smiles


Sporty making her pitching debut, lets just say we have lot of work to do, I think she threw one strike in the inning that she pitched.  But she loves it and wants more so we’ll have to get her some lessons or practice


Hoping for a hit!


Calling out the play at first base


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Kind of a BOGO



I had to capture my negotiation to get him on the x-ray table


So there’s the fracture, I actually think this was when his cast came off.  I’ve tried to repress all memories of when I had two kids in full leg casts


The fact that the two darker lines run parallel, tells them that his legs are growing symmetrically so the growth plate is a-ok

This week we headed up to Dr Fluffy Unicorn but this time it was for Young Jedi and not Sporty.  I know, right!?!  We have to keep you all on your toes.  Remember that time when Young Jedi fractured his leg 10 days after Sporty had surgery and they were BOTH in full leg casts, during our rainiest winter in like 10 years!?!  Well if not you can read about it here and if you do remember, you should just read about it again because one really can’t make this stuff up:




Now that you’ve had a good laugh, the story continues.  Well when we went to get him officially casted by the orthopedic physicians assistant, she mentioned that based on the x-rays his pediatrician took, they couldn’t tell if the fracture impacted his growth spurt, I immediately went to leg length differences, surgery and since we were just barely pain free from Sporty’s surgery I couldn’t even process another surgery let alone on the kid who gets a paper cut and acts like the world is coming to an end.  (Seriously, he tripped on the sidewalk this week and skinned his arm and for 3 hours he asked why (in the whiniest voice imaginable) they had to make sidewalks so hard!?!  Again, can’t make this stuff up!).

Anyhoo, they wanted to check him 6 months after his injury date so that led us to our appointment this week.  Getting him to take x-rays again was a negotiation that cost them 2 lollipops and me a nap for the day along with some Otter Pops and other promises.  (He seriously better be rich when he’s older so he can buy me a nice Hawaiian condo where I can finally recuperate from all of the grey hairs and sleepless nights that he gives me.)

So after waiting 45 minutes (insert more whining from Young Jedi), we got our 3 minutes with Dr Fluffy Unicorn (don’t get me started on that!  Even his nurse missed the check-up, it was so short!) where we learned that his growth plate was NOT impacted by the fracture.  Can I get a hallelujah!?!  Seriously, we needed that small miracle.

And the BOGO part, well we never made a follow-up for Sporty when we were there a week and a half ago.  She REALLY wanted out of her AFO for her softball tournaments.  Unfortunately, that request got denied.  Even she couldn’t sweet talk him into changing his mind on that one.  He said he wants her to remain in her AFO through the end of her softball season.  BUT soccer season, she can stop wearing her AFO when that starts the end of July/ beginning of August.  She’s pretty much out of her AFO (not by my approval) except for softball and for the most part has remained pain-free.  Next check-up, mid-September!  She’ll be well into her 3rd grade year by then!  Crazy!

As for Young Jedi, he is officially released from Dr Fluffy Unicorn barring any future breaks!


He doesn’t quite appreciate the Dr Fluffy Unicorn pictures the way Sporty does

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To when little Miss Sporty sported her “night night” shoes (also known as her Ponseti brace and Mitchell shoes).  Those days seem like a million years ago! ​ Check out those flip moves in her brace!  

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Today is clubfoot day, the day we celebrate our everyday heroes and work to raise awareness for clubfoot.  1 in a 1000 babies are born with clubfoot making it the second most common birth defect.

This is has been a particularly rough year for our family.  Sporty’s latest surgery was harder on her than we expected and her recovery has taken longer than we had hoped but she keeps fighting because she was made to run.  She’s never been ashamed of her differences but as she gets older, missing out on activities to treat clubfoot gets more difficult.  We certainly could not have made it through her recovery without our village who constantly visited Sporty and took her on walks in her wheelchair and encouraged her recovery.

Her big plans on World Clubfoot Day…practice pitching for softball and cheering on Young Jedi’s tee-ball game.  Maybe next year I’ll get it together enough to put together a picnic celebration for our local clubfoot friends and all of our friends who help us get through the journey.

When I heard this song by Alessia Cara, it screamed Sporty to me.  I’ve put together this photo montage of our journey so far with Sporty.  The first photo of her untreated feet still makes her shudder, but I show her it as a reminder of where she started in life.  That her making her travel team and her developmental team, her running the soccer field, or doing her school’s running club, they mean so much more than they do for most kids.  I know our journey probably isn’t over but hopefully it will be a little less exciting for a while so that we are able to enjoy all of the things that a little girl who was made to run loves to do.

“You should know you’re beautiful just they way you are,

And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change it’s heart

No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful.” – Alessia Cara


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Judgement Free Zone

I love kids, I love that they are judgement free and

93E06C93-9305-46B5-BE77-8A9D69312DF5accepting.  That’s Sporty, to the left of the coach in this photo and that’s her new U8 travel team at their first practice.  At a water break, Sporty ran up to me and said a few girls had asked about her AFO and she explained it to them.  I know she hates repeating her spiel over and over so I suggested maybe asking her new coach if she could just tell the whole team at once.  Before I knew it she was marching up to her coach and asking if she could explain her AFO to everyone so she didn’t have to talk about it anymore.

Before I know it, there’s a team meeting and Sporty is talking about her clubfeet, her surgery, and why she’s wearing her AFO (no video because: a) I couldn’t think that fast and b) my phone is on it’s last leg and barely has enough memory for a photo, let alone a video).  The coach asked if anyone had any questions and they kind of all just shrugged and were like “Ok, cool, let’s play ball.”  Then they were all running out to the field to take their positions and take infielding practice.  The coach was floored by her bravery.  And by the way, she tried out in her AFO and obviously it didn’t hinder her tryout.

I love kids because they ask, they don’t stare.  I love that Sporty is confident enough to share and talk about her differences.  Most of all, I love that her teammates (past and present) don’t care, don’t judge, and don’t treat her differently.  All we’ve ever hoped for is that clubfeet doesn’t hinder or hold Sporty back, that she’s judged by her hard work and not her special circumstances.

Oh and she was so excited for practice that she was changed and ready to go 1 1/2 hours early, if only school days were easy like that.  And she killed it at practice, she had solid fielding and throws and bonded with her new teammates.  I’m excited to see her develop and grow this summer!

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Big Day For Young Jedi

Well, this weekend was a big weekend for Young Jedi.  While Riley and I were out watching softball games with friends and chilling at her friend’s pool, the Hubs was out teaching Young Jedi how to ride a bike.  Now I fully under estimated Young Jedi (based on his personality with good justification) and decided that I was going to stay away from the no training wheels situation as long as a could.  One fall and I was certain Young Jedi would come off of his ledge and fall apart.

But I was wrong.  And I am super happy about that, the Hubs said it took 5 minutes and Young Jedi was off!

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Two Thumbs Up

7A5BB997-224C-4416-8584-8F4DEE445A53Yesterday we made our way up to Dr Fluffy Unicorn for a check-up since Sporty’s foot pain and return to her AFO.  Getting up there was no easy task, traffic was horrendous, think long weekend and traveling along the path of all of those Bay Area-ites heading to Tahoe for the weekend.  My GPS got us off the freeway and took us through back roads and neighborhoods for an hour, that was faster than the 15 miles on the freeway direct route.  Then we waited for an hour, then we saw him for maybe 5 minutes.

Good news is, Sporty’s feet look awesome.  I was worried about her left foot (which was operated on at 5) because it was stiff and lacked mobility but when we walked in several people commented on how she looked taller than she did 4 weeks ago so perhaps the stiffness was due to a growth spurt.  She was easily able to get stretched to neutral by the physician’s assistant  and checked out really well.  She told them her AFO hurt around her ankle (another sign of a growth spurt apparently) and again I was merely the Uber to get them there.  Sporty was a little antsy to get out of there and off to her end of the season softball party but she stuck around long enough to hear Dr Fluffy E7537F48-D146-4CF5-A32C-B1A43C42BBA3Unicorn tell her that she could stop wearing her AFO except for when she was doing risky business (ie softball, running, soccer) for now which is pretty much always so maybe we’re not free of the AFO. Overall he was really happy with the way things looked!

We didn’t make a follow-up appointment but Young Jedi is due to have his fracture checked June 12 so Dr Fluffy Unicorn said to just bring Sporty with me then and he’d look at her.

Finally a good clubfoot checkup!


Oh and here’s Sporty jumping on a trampoline maybe an hour and a half after leaving Dr Fluffy Unicorn – with NO AFO – cause apparently trampolines don’t qualify as risky!

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If You Dream It, It Will Happen

This is the next chapter in the story of a girl who is determined to win.

Sporty had a really rough winter.  She tried out for a competitive 3rd/4th grade team the weekend before her latest tendon transfer.  The league coaches pulled my husband aside, told him she was a solid player, that she for sure would make one of the developmental teams as a 2nd grader.  Then she had surgery.  The pain blindsided us, it was way worse than the first time, we couldn’t get medicine right, we couldn’t stay ahead of the pain, it was awful.  She screamed in agony that her foot hurt so bad it felt like someone drilled a hole through it (which he actually did).  She had to stay out of school longer than she wanted (remember when you were 8 and you actually wanted to go to school???), when she went back she was frustrated by her lack of mobility.  She was frustrated that she couldn’t run and play with her friends even though most of them stuck by her side for the month that she couldn’t walk.  Then the draft for the 3rd/4th grade league came and Sporty didn’t get picked to play up.  She was devastated.  I told her it was ok, it would give her a chance to recover.  Everything happens for a reason and maybe this was our sign she wasn’t recovered yet and needed time.  Yet, understandably, she was disappointed.  The regular season started and she played on an awesome team, but she’s Sporty and she goes full speed and she wants to be competitive and challenged, she wants to be pitched to by her peers and the division she played in was still coach pitch and they didn’t keep score (though we all know the girls keep score and know their wins and losses).  She pushed herself too hard at practice running the bases so her foot started to hurt a few weeks after coming out of her AFO.  She was really down for a long time, something we’ve never seen in our happy, go-lucky Sporty.  So much to her disapproval, she was placed back in her AFO, at least she can play in an AFO.  A cast she could not.  She spent most of the regular season playing ball in her AFO.  She didn’t want to be the only player not in cleats, so I got creative and modified her cleats (I also bought her new Under Armour cleats at the beginning of the season because they run wider than Nike or some other brands, just in case I needed to be creative clubfoot mom with them) to accommodate her AFO because where there’s a will, I will always make a way for her.

As she went through recovery Sporty told me that she wanted to play as much softball as she possibly could.  Whatever the league, team, program, she wanted to do it.  She wants to get a scholarship for college to play softball.  That’s her goal.

As the season ended we found out about two opportunities for Sporty to continue playing for the summer.  Sunday was tryouts for both opportunities.  I tried to talk her out of the second tryout, we had had a busy weekend and it was 95 degrees out and I didn’t feel like it was healthy to have her out there for 4 hours trying out for teams, she’s only 8, she doesn’t need that pressure yet.  But she begged me, see this particular tryout was for a U8 Traveling softball team, and she really wants to play competitively and participate in tournaments this summer.  So I let her with the promise that she would drink lots of water and Gatorade and make sure she stayed hydrated.

It was hard to tell how the tryout was going.  She seemed to be doing well, she caught all of her fly balls, she got all of her grounders (see pic below) and her throws were spot on.  She hit well off of the machine (which she is not used to) but there were some really good girls out there.  18 girls tried out for 12 spots so the odds were good but still you never know how these things work.  I didn’t want to see her disappointed again too, it was a rough year and I didn’t know how she’d take the disappointment.

Wednesday we got this email from the coach:



“…stood out so much there is no question that we would love to have them on the team.”

My Sporty!  I couldn’t believe my eyes, I was so excited for her.  See I didn’t make my first travel summer team until I was like 14 or 15, so for Sporty to make it at 8 is unbelievable.  U8 is the youngest travel team that we are aware of so we’re so flattered that she was among the few girls that without a question the coaches wanted on the team.

This is a story of a girl, who has had three foot surgeries in 8 years, who wears an AFO with pride and dignity, who never quits, even when it gets hard,  this story continues.

This is a girl who goes after her dreams, even after disappointment.  A girl who I couldn’t be more proud of.

If you dream it, it can happen…


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Well That’s A Wrap

Today was Sporty’s last game. It’s always sad when a season ends, especially when you have such a great team. The Fireballs were undefeated this season but most of all we had so much fun, especially myself, who got to help coach Sporty this season. I loved watching the girls who came out and had never thrown a ball or held a bat before this season start to make plays and become huge hitters.  We conquered the season in our AFO and Sporty went out with a bang, leading off and going 3-3 and making some key plays in the field.  Until next time softball season, I’ll miss our endless hours on the field. At least my allergies will get a break!  

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I Have A Confession

I think I might of ruined Sporty’s cheetah speed.

I have this deep, sinking feeling that her latest surgery ruined her cheetah speed.  I told her it would be locked away in her cast, ready to emerge once she was healed.  But it hasn’t returned and 7 months later, I’m worried it might not and it is absolutely eating away at me.  She’s been able to compete, and hang in there but at one of her softball tryouts this weekend, one of the league coaches called her out on it.  She texted me afterwards (yes, my 8 year old texts me from her dad’s phone) to tell me she did well but “Coach C told me I wasn’t running as fast as I could.”  She told him she was still recovering from surgery but she’d get it back.  Problem is, I think she was running as fast as she could.  She just can’t get the motor going, it literally looks like her legs are bricks when she runs.  I hope I’m wrong, I hope it’s her AFO slowing her down and limiting her mobility.  At her second tryout (yes, she had 2 because she’s Sporty and she doesn’t stop trying despite it being 95 degrees out and her lack of cheetah speed), she was the slowest runner at tryouts, only by .4 seconds, but she used to be the fastest.

She was fast, she was fine.  She wasn’t in pain.  Her foot was tight and relapsing but it wasn’t impacting her life.  Why did I take that all away from her?  Even if she never gets her cheetah speed back and she can forgive me, I’ll never forgive myself.  She was cheetah speed, that’s what made her Sporty.  How could I be the one to take it away from her?

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