#AtoZChallenge: K is for Kickass Kindness (to go with #gratitudeandshit)

stormtrooper mirror 2018 photos antique store
This one should be a country music album cover.

I mean …

AtoZ2019KWe do #gratitudeandshit around here. Why not #kickasskindness? Kindness kind of gets a bad rap. Like, me, in middle school, when someone started the rumor that I curled my hair. Psh. It spreads like wildfire. Or negative Yelp! reviews.

Anyway. Kindness.

People equate kind with weak. But that’s not always so. That’s why I like when one of my players trucks another player then helps her up. That’s sweet, right? It’s like, not in my neighborhood, !@#$!, then, you okay, sister?

I’m grateful when my girls and players stand their ground.

I’m grateful also when they joke around after absorbing a 10-1 thumping because, you know, sometimes that’s just where you are. I need to remember that. Kindness is both holding them accountable for their effort but showing mercy after their results.

Deep. So, what am I grateful for this evening, as I’m up way too late writing this?

girls onesie 2019 smiles target
Most of my girls (and most of my daughters) will tell you this applies to them.

1-Having a season to have to figure out. It’s been trying at times. The girls say they want me to be angry, but it’s not natural for me. I’ll use spring break to find a middle ground. Above all, I love those girls and want the best for them.

2-Coaches who explained soccer to me. I once was just a sportswriter who needed to learn soccer – fast. Madison had just started playing, and in her second season, I was called on to coach. High school coaches taught me the basics after postgame interviews.

3-Ann Handley. I have a pocket of email exchanges with her. We met at Digital Summit. She’s a living legend and our conversation is the equivalent of me getting to converse with John Wooden. Meeting her was up there with when Camdyn wrote a guest post.

me ann handley digital summit charlotte convention center 2018
I learn lots of stuff about words from Ann Handley’s writing. And about being cool. I want a jacket like hers.

4-Conventions! The Unspam Conference was a retreat. It changed my life. I also got to attend the ACN International Convention recently in Charlotte. I’m headed to Dallas at the end of the month for Success University. I love learning almost as much as I do pizza.

5-When the awesome happens in my steps. I walk miles and miles every day. Some are easy. Some are not. I feel tired and worn at the end of a day, but joyful. Not only because of the end but where I wound up taking the steps.

6-Courage to try something new. Many of my tried and trues have become discarded and used. This goes for mindsets, sweater vests, and people pests. My lineups and to-do list are written in pencil for a reason. I have an eraser and ain’t afraid to use it.

virginia football belk bowl winners bank of america stadium
I got to see the football team from the school that won the Final Four win a bowl game in Charlotte. Catch that?

7-Fountain soda. Let’s be honest. It’s the drink of the Gods. Eros filled up on Coke Zero before battle. Lovely Demeter downed a Pepsi Max just before the harvest. There’s just something about the pure goodness of fizzy bubbles from the QT drink machine.

8-Pizza with parents after a match. You never know who will come, but you leave the kids to their own noisy crowded table and you break bread (or pizza crust) with the parents. It’s a good chance to catch up and let them know who’s teaching their kids.

9-Resilience in the face of disappointment. It’s not easy to detach ourselves from outcomes. The heart wants what the heart wants. Love, victory, tacos. I’m grateful for an ability to sigh (a powerful tool), say, ‘oh well …’ and move on. And upward.

camdyn desk christmas construction home
Camdyn didn’t need much help putting together the desk she got for Christmas. So mostly I bothered her.

10-Peaceful, powerful runs. Spring in the Carolinas, if you can avoid choking on pollen, is so perfect. The sun warms the cool air and you’re left in the in between. You dig in, nail your goals, and maybe pick up a fountain soda on the way home.

What have you been grateful for today?

A to Z Challenge:

A is for Almost (and also At Last)

B is for Baggett (as in Laura, the actress, and #GirlsRock interview)

C is for Cursive, Cats, and Chinese Restaurants (Go Ask Daddy about them)

D is for Drawing the Line

E is for Every Day Gratitude

F is for Fieri, Falling in Love, and Focus (Weekend Reads IV)

G is for #GoAskDaddy: An interview with realtor Kristen Foxx

H is for Habit of Peace

I is for I Shot the Sheriff, Item Lifting and other Illegal Activity (Go Ask Daddy)

J is for Journalist, a #GirlsRock Interview with Esther Robards-Forbes

chesterton quote gratitude



  1. Katie Arnold says:

    I’m so excited for some sunshine. It was super rainy this morning but the sun is back out and I was able to get a sunny (yet SUPER WINDY) run and it was just so nice to get out there.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That sun feels great, doesn’t it Katie? It feels, even in Carolina, like the thaw is underway.

  2. randommusings29 says:

    Love your gratitude list. There is always something to be thankful for 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Debbie! Gratitude is all over the place if we keep an eye out for it.

  3. ksbeth says:

    excellent k2 post! I am grateful for flaming hot Cheetos

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, beth. I think flaming hot cheetos should sponsor your blog. Do they give you flaming hot orange fingers?

      1. ksbeth says:

        They should and they do. My love for them has never cooled

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I admire that.

  4. It’s time for me to relocate that eraser. Thanks for reminding me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have one you can borrow, Meems. I wish I could, some days, write all in ink. It’s an easier road. But it also has less adventure.

  5. Mary Lou says:

    I’m grateful for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Today is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (that was my Letter G) Great to read your post Eli. I decided to do this years AtoZ (Last one 2016).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Always, grilled cheese sandwiches, Mary Lou. I feel like every day should be grilled cheese sandwich day. Thanks for reading this post!

      I’m going to check yours out now, too. So glad you jumped in this year.

  6. Lacey Dearie says:

    This was a really nice blog to open up and read. You have a kind heart and it shows through in your writing.

    Today I am grateful for my husband and son and the family unit we have. Just their presence in my house today is making me feel tons of gratitude and peace. I love having them in my life.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lacey. Writing is a spot I feel my least out of sync.

      Love that your gratitude revolves around your family. I do feel most heartened when all the girls are with me. Blessed to have you here, too.

  7. Great ‘tudes Eli! How was your trip to Dallas?? I hope our rain didn’t dampen your fun! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, CW! Our trip got canceled. I was so ready to roll!

      1. Oh man!! That stinks! Dallas is a great city..although I am SO glad I don’t actually live there. We are about 100 miles south. Have you ever been?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Never been! I was so ready to bring the girls back Dallas Stars and Mavericks shirts. (No Cowboys. They draw the line there.)

      3. Don’t blame them there either! Stars were playing in the Stanley cup playoffs last week. Have no idea what happened. We don’t follow NHL. We only turned it on for a min because they were playing the Blues. Stars were ahead! 🙆‍♀️

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        The Stars new sweaters are like Electric Green.

      5. Well cool beans!!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.