i’ve always been a fan of people who know who they are and know what they like. like those people who walk into an ice cream shop and order right away, never needing to sample any flavors.
i, on the other hand, have treated life like an ice cream shop, sampling (almost) a little bit of everything and seeing what i like.
take basketball, for example. that was an interesting sample. i thought, hey i like watching the sport with my dad and brother, so why not try out for the high school team?
you see, i actually never played basketball before high school, so freshman tryouts was my first time dribbling the ball. sounds so ridiculous saying it out loud now, i mean, i knew who i was up against: girls who had played club ball since they were toddlers; but, it was this or PE class and there was no way i was going to go through 2 years of that again (cause you know, you have to do PE in middle school). plus i liked basketball. so why not?
during try outs, i accidentally kicked the ball while dribbling sending it all the way across the court, almost tripping a girl. the coaches looked up from their clipboards at the girl who “lost control of the ball”. i blushed, but i jogged over, got the ball, and started over again dribbling from the start line. i was the last one to finish.
when the list got posted on who made the freshman team i wasn’t even going to bother checking it, fully bracing myself to have to enroll in PE, but i checked the list anyway. i made it.
my very first basketball game my whole family came to support me. i’ll never forget my younger brothers sitting on the bleachers waving to me from a cross the court - they got there first when the bleachers were still empty because their school got out a little earlier than mine. this was one of many games they'd attend. my little sister would come with my mom and my dad would take a break from work and sit. i felt both super proud and embarrassed that they were there. i mean, i wasn’t a starting player or anything....and boy did i prove that on this very first game.
well into the game, i got to play and it was my turn to take the ball in from out of bounds. so i dribbled the ball onto the court. the referee blew his whistle, stopping me and handing me the ball again saying, "try again sport.” i didn’t understand, so i dribbled the ball in again and the ref blew his whistle at me again. i did for a 3rd time before my coach called me out to explain what i had done wrong. she sent another player in my place.
the varsity coach happened to be attending this first game of the season and once i didn't get what i was doing wrong for the third time, he shot up from his seat, put his hands up to the bridge of his nose, and turned trying to compose himself. you guys, I MADE HIM CRY he was laughing so hard.
after my own coach composed herself, she explained that you must pass the ball in to someone else on your team, you cannot dribble the ball past the line. i sat down on the bench trying to recover. the varsity coach came up behind me, put his hand on my shoulder and said - "you get it now, robyn?"
i laughed, mortified and said, “coach, i don’t think i’ll ever forget that rule again.”
and i didn't.
later, i was voted team captain. i was the only captain i knew that didn’t “start” or was considered first string. before our games started, i would walk onto the court, shake the opposing team captain’s hand and sit right down on the bench and take stats. there was always this puzzled look on the other team captain’s face, when i didn't stay on the court. "is she injured?" - because usually the team captain in basketball was the point guard - aka, the best dribbler // shooter // and over all player on the team. i was not by normal standards, a qualified captain.
my junior year, our coaches changed and this coach didn’t like me very much saying i was a terrible player and needed to retire from the sport entirely. i cried a little, not in front of him but later, and i did strongly consider quitting, my PE credits after all were fulfilled, but with the encouragement of loved ones and my teammates, i told him i wasn’t quitting yet, and to his disappointment, was voted team captain again.
i wasn't the best player on my team, but i was pretty good at defense and i could see problems on the court and how to solve them - but i think my most valuable asset was being able to make my team laugh. intentionally and unintentionally. i could encourage, lip-sync on the bus and turn the serious competition into something way more fun - i mean for pete's sake it's just a stinking game right?
i liked basketball, and enjoyed playing it, even though i wasn’t that great at it.
i think maybe that’s what owning it means. it means thinking outside the box and defying the normal definition of "great". you don’t have to be the best player, or the most talented but you know what you like and you can do a great job at what you ARE good at - even if that one thing is really obscure and weird (like making your entire basketball team laugh). i think when it really comes down to it, owning what we’re good at is our way of giving others a little piece of our happiness. at least it seems like we're giving, because we're recognizing something great within ourselves and that makes us happy. and from what i’ve learned from my high school basketball experience, sometimes just being a happy person to be around, is enough.
there's some cheese sauce quote on "if only the best birds sang in the forrest than the trees would be so quiet" - do you know what i'm talking about? yeah? go sing. :)
love to you my friends. xo
roasted honey lime brussels sprouts with bacon
serves 4-6 as a side
there is one thing i want you to “own” this thanksgiving. brussels sprouts. they're just little baby cabbages that most people think are way too tricky to cook, or gross, or delicious but too much effort, but they're not too much effort and they are delicious and good for you. and if you're anything like me, you've probably been asked to bring a side to this years thanksgiving feast. if you’re not, or if you’re from somewhere else entirely, this is still an amazing side recipe to hold on to. it doesn't take much time, or ingredients and it's crazy simple. this is my favorite way to share brussels sprouts for the holidays. people sit there and just comment on how good they are... and usually cannot guess the lime right away... i don't know why but that makes me feel happy? it's the little things guys. xo
note: if you don't want to use bacon, salted pecans or walnuts would work beautifully here as well. just make sure you add the nuts right before serving to ensure they don't get soggy. turkey bacon would also work here as well, but crisp it up really nicely in a little olive oil okay? promise me?
1 pound / 455g brussels sprouts, tough ends removed
¼ cup / 60ml olive oil
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
¼ cup / 60ml cup lime juice
1 tablespoon of raw honey
zest of two limes (about 1 tablespoon packed)
4 ounces / 113g bacon (4 ounces = 4 pieces uncooked bacon)
for the bacon:
crisp bacon to your liking, but don’t skimp on the crispy. crispy, crunchy bacon is key here. don’t you dare buy those gross bacon bits either. REAL organic, humane bacon here friends. unless you’re a vegetarian, then use nuts. (see note above). (i cook my bacon in the oven at 350° F / 180° C for 30-45 minutes, flipping the pieces over once half way through. the baking time varies on how many pieces of bacon i’m cooking at a time. it took about 55 minutes to crisp up 14 pieces of bacon perfectly in the oven.) after your bacon is crisp, crush and crumble your bacon into small bite size pieces and set aside.
for the brussels:
preheat your oven to 350° F / 180° C
clean your brussels, and trim them so the tough ends are removed. split each little brussels “bud” in half.
on a baking sheet toss the cut brussels in ¼ cup olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt.
roast for 20-25 minutes at 350° F / 180° C.
while your brussels are roasting, whisk lime juice, zest and honey in a small bowl. set aside.
when your brussels are done roasting, and still warm, toss them gently in the lime + honey mixture, sprinkling on your bacon last. this is fantastic warm, but luke warm it's pretty stinking good too. i mean, its bacon and brussels.
why is this good for me?
brussels sprouts contain many anti-cancer properties and are a great source of folic acid (ahem, anyone trying to get pregnant out there? eat your brussels). they're also an excellent source of vitamin a and k and beta carotene. they're also good for energizing your liver, good for your stomach and have been known to help get rid of a cold.