Simply Yaya

The excuse bench…
You know when you have those moments in your life that just speak to you and stick with you? And you’re like, “Well, I will be, how true is that?” The excuse bench story is one of my big ones. I mean BIG.
Picture it: summer basketball pre-season tournament circa seventh-grade Scottsboro Junior High glory days. My son was playing his first “school” game. The Mom squad was perched right behind the team on those old wooden bleachers.

Now, for those of you who know my child, he’s a good kid. I got very lucky. However, one thing I have to say is not his forte is being able to take constructive criticism well. So, needless to say, during one of the first time-out huddles, us mamas were all leaned over just waiting for the praise Coach Arnold was about to bestow on our crows.

Wait. What was that? Coach Arnold dared to tell MY baby what he was doing wrong? Why, he didn’t foul! You could hear a pin drop on Momma Row. We froze. Black and gold shakers hanging low. And just what did my child do? He made an excuse. Go back to the, never-done-anything-that-was-his-fault bit. What did Coach Arnold do? Grabbed him BY THE ARM (this has been significant when I relive this story) and slung him onto the bench. Then he said it: the words that changed my life, and I hope also Dylan’s.

“He’s on the excuse bench. Anyone else wanna join him?”

Pretty sure no one spoke up because the game resumed, and we had enough players to head back out. All while my son was riding the pine.

Mommaville erupted all at once. “Are you gonna let him talk to him that way?!” The other moms expected the eruption of all eruptions of epic proportions. For once, I’m glad I disappointed. I sat back and said, “I sure am.”

It was the first time I had ever been glad my son failed. For real. Did Dylan go back into the game? Sure he did. Did I ever see him make an excuse again? Nope. Not that I could hear. Have I used the excuse bench many times over since that day? Yes, ma’am.

With Dylan. With work. With friends. With family. With myself. Especially when I am burning the candle at both ends. My son went on to have a wonderful school career. It just happened to be in baseball. That was his love. He played 3 years of college ball and still loves the game.

Always remember the excuse bench. Sit yourself down if you need to. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks, Coach Arnold.

Walking Tacos (perfect for your March Madness get together)
• Individually bagged Doritos or corn chips
• Seasoned taco beef
• Shredded Cheese
• Taco toppings of your choice (lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream)
1. Turn bag of chips sideways and cut down the long side with scissors. Add a scoop of the beef, cheese and toppings of your choice. Perfect, no fuss, no muss food with easy clean up!

-Kim Rice-Holman

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