Friday, June 5, 2020
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It can’t be done; 4(all within 2-3 years of each other) kids all gifted athletes, all really active in sports, all active in school events and functions…etc and yet the family keeps “ticking”. Better than that actually, this family in the heat of the moment in the middle of the battle, in the craziness of a busy schedule of running kids around to all their youth sports games still remains a close and loving family.
Meet the LeBrun family, a family with their priorities in order; family first.
It can’t be done? Then you need to talk to Calvin, the youngest of the 4 kids.
“We didn’t have pressure at all to be good at sports”, Calvin told me. “Ultimately this was to have fun”, he continued, “at the end of the day they (mom and dad) were going to love us no matter what happened”.
You see, all 4 of the kids played lots of sports. Nikki, Tyler, Cory, and Calvin dabbled with lots of sports growing up. Golf, basketball, soccer and to make things more interesting, ice hockey…. In Phoenix, Arizona. (Just wondering if they missed the notices for the swim team?)
Baseball and softball ended up being the families best.
It can’t be done? Then maybe you can try what the LeBrun family did: have everyone get involved. Mark and Debbie did a great job of fostering a family of togetherness. They were involved. Mark coached the kids and was active with their teams. (Except for the fact that he ice skates like a wet sow on ice).
“Playing for him was the best”, Calvin said.
The whole family got involved, including the extended family. The grandparents loved going to all the games. They also enjoyed being a part of the “taxi” team. Those busy Saturday mornings for the LeBrun family meant everyone(grandparents too)meeting early at the kitchen counter for the big family team meeting and drawing straws to see which adult would drive which kid to which game. hands in the middle, “break!”
“We have a great relationship with everyone in the family. We play together and are involved with each other and we spent lots of time with each other”, Calvin said, “we were always together”
Mark would sit on a turned over bucket and play catcher as the kids pitched to him in the front yard. And when they weren’t at the baseball diamond or playing ice hockey, (In Phoenix? Come on) then they were in the back yard in the pool ( which makes a lot more sense) playing pool basketball.
“Dad had a pretty nice jump shot” Calvin reports, “but mom kept yelling “stop splashing”.
Not only were the kids successful as athletes as extended Jr. College playing careers and Cory playing at Gonzaga University, they have learned how to give back to the community.
Nikki is now a teacher at her former middle school and is also the girls’ basketball and softball coach.
Tyler is an assistant coach at Sunnyslope High School serving just under his dad who is the other assistant coach.
It was one of those “priceless” moments when Calvin last year as a Sophomore helped Sunnyslope win the state title.
“When we won State last year, there was no better way to spend it than being with my dad and older brother in the dugout, and then to have my other brothers and sister and mom and grandparents and more family in the stands there to be a part of it. Even lots of my former elementary school teachers came to support us”, Calvin said.
I can’t wait to see how Calvin will eventually give back to his community.
It’s not about winning or pressure or false expectations, it’s about love, being intentional with being together, it’s about playing together, it’s about ice skating in Phoenix…What?
It can be done!
If you have any questions or comments for Tom Kuyper, email him at:

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