Champion

Hi — I’m back!

Life got a little hectic there for awhile.

I’m back in school, working towards my nutritional counseling certification and learning all sorts of super cool things I’ll be writing about in future posts.

I also had some work deadlines to take care of before we went on a last-minute vacation to Florida.

Miami - Jungle Island

And, oh yeah, while we were on vacation… my brother, Erik Spoelstra, coached the Miami HEAT to an NBA Finals Championship victory — and we were there to see it all!

Erik Spoelstra - celebration

Photo: Miami HEAT

 

This blog is hardly a forum for hoops talk, but I also thought it would be weird if I didn’t post at least a little something about one of the most awesome things to happen in my family.

miami - heat - confetti

Having been in Miami to witness last year’s heartbreaking NBA Finals Game 6 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, this year’s victory was especially sweet for my family.

My brother has one of the most scrutinized jobs in all of professional sports. It’s often recognized as a no-win situation because if the team wins, the fans and media credit the players; if the team loses, the blame falls on the coach. There’s so much negative media and fan “noise” out there, in fact, that I rarely read media coverage about the HEAT. I also avoid the broadcasters’ commentary during pre-game and halftime, and ignore it when the random hater posts on my Twitter feed. I try to focus on the positive.

That said, it was extremely gratifying to see Erik finally rewarded for all of the hard work, focus, innovation and personal sacrifice he has brought to his job over his 17 years as part of the Miami HEAT organization. I am in absolute awe of the requirements and circumstances of his job, and was so proud to see him handle it all with such focus, composure and grace throughout what must have been one of the craziest weeks of his life.

miami - press conference

One of the best aspects of sharing this important victory with him was the fact that my son Alonzo got to be part of so many amazing experiences — quite the contrast to our hippie-ish, Portlandia-style life here in Oregon!

One game, Alonzo got to stand in the fan tunnel and give high-fives to the players as they came through.

 Alonzo - fan tunnel

He appeared on national television as the announcers talked about my father, Jon Spoelstra, who has worked in professional sports for decades.

jon spoelstra - miami heat

He also got to meet a couple of his favorite players — Juwan Howard and Shane Battier — and then he got to ride in the victory parade, giving parade waves and “#1″ signs like a pro.

miami heat - espn - parade

Alonzo got some great quality time with his Uncle Erik, whether that meant a quick jump in the pool or helping him break down game video. I was also grateful to have some quality time with Erik, too — taking yoga class, talking about our favorite green smoothies, and spending time with his incredible circle of kind and supportive friends. I was also there when he got the customary congratulatory phone call from President Obama — how cool is that?!

miami - video

What a week. So many happy memories to counter all of the negative ones that have haunted us over the last couple of years. My brother is a champion — which my family and I knew all along, of course — and now he has the ring to prove it. No one can take that away from him.

miami heat - parade

Congrats, Erik — so happy for you, and so glad we were there to be part of the celebration!

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37 Responses to “Champion”

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  1. Helen says:

    Awesome. I cheered for you guys when the Heat won, (despite not knowing much about basketball except that as a former Ohioan, I wasn’t supposed to like LeBron). We loved seeing Alonzo on TV and what a great great time for you guys!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Helen — thanks for ignoring your Ohioan impulses and cheering for the HEAT anyway!

  2. Sara B says:

    What an amazing experience Monica! So happy for you and your family and love these fun pictures!! Miss you!!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Sara — Miami, BTW, is a major nail art scene. I thought of you when we were there!

  3. yoona says:

    Hello friend. I’ve seen how some of that negativity and ugliness towards Erik has spilled over into your daily life. So it is gratifying to see you soaking up the fun and positivity. One word: amazeballs.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Amazeballs — yes! The negativity remains, unfortunately, but thankfully the volume has at least been turned down for awhile. So great to have some crazy-good memories to counter the bad!

  4. gigi says:

    Great momment with your family ! Alonzo so cute…Congrats to Erik so proud of him and how he handles all the criticism…
    He is a CHAMPION!!!!

  5. gulgun says:

    Hi Monica! Great pictures. So fun! Thanks for sharing.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Gulgun! We all had so much fun, especially Alonzo! Such a little hoops fan already.

  6. Peter O'Connor says:

    Thanks for posting this….always want to ask but never do now I get to see what fun you had celebrating with your family and brother. Congrats to him and happy you got to experience it.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Yeah, the Spoelstras are a pretty private bunch, but it was nice to share the great news here. Thanks for the note!

  7. Jane says:

    Thanks Monica for the update. We followed the whole thing — especially once the Heat beat the Celtics (my current home team). So crazy to remember Erik as the little boy in. The back of your Mom’s car! Thanks for sharing and congratulations to Erik and your family! I am going to forward your blog post to my husband…major basketball fan!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Hey Jane — he must have been a kindergartener when you saw him last — about the same age as my son. Crazy!

  8. Eva says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience you had! You could just imagine how the Philippines cheered for Erik and his team. Me, one of them of course! Erik’s success is also yours so huge Congratulations to the family! Hoping to see Heat victory again next year :) By the way, please tell Alonzo he is the cutest Heat fan ever saw on tv:)

  9. Cynthia Dimayuga says:

    Monica! What a great experience, eh?
    And how great you write about it!
    Yes, Alonzo is an international star now. Here in the Philippines,
    some friends were asking if Erik had gotten married because who is
    that red-haired little boy with him?!
    We hope now there is no more doubt about how right Erik is for the job!
    Congratulations again and see you soon!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Ate Cyn — hard to believe our little redheaded Alonzo is 1/4-Filipino, huh?! Hope you are all well!

  10. Minette says:

    Thank you for this post ! I was hoping you would write something about the HEAT. I could feel the whole team’s determination to win. Coach Spo is indeed so hard-working and a great motivator. It was also so exciting to see your dad and Alonzo on TV ! Your baby is so active ! Congratulations to the HEAT team, to Coach Spo and to your whole family. Best wishes and more power ! :-)

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Minette — yes, Alonzo is indeed active. The boy could play ball all day long and be perfectly happy! Thanks for your support and HEAT cheers!

  11. Meredith says:

    Thanks Monica! We were TOTALLY following and routing for the Heat while looking for you guys in the crowd! We had to rewind and watch Alonzo and your dad when they hit the screen. We are thrilled for you! Of course, this training is getting Alonzo prepared for sports greatness too!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      How funny you saw Alonzo on TV — I bet the girls got a kick out of it! Thanks for tuning in and for rooting the HEAT onto victory…

  12. Kristin Leandro says:

    Hi Monica,

    Wow! Congratulations to Erik and the Heat for an amazing season and championship run. I had been a fan of LeBron James for years and am so happy to see him get the championship he deserves. As your blog has kept me inspired in my weight loss journey over the past few month, so too did your brother, showing so much poise and class in the face of unbelievable, undeserved scrutiny. Wish all of your family the best, enjoy!

    Now I must tell you, I so wanted the Heat to win the championship, that when I went on my pilgrimage trip to Italy the last two weeks in May, I lit candles for them at every church we visited, figured it couldn’t hurt, right? I mainly lit the candles in memory of my dad, who passed away a few years ago, and after saying the requisite prayers for him and the other members of my family, I’d always end with “…and let’s go Heat. Amen.” :)

    I’ve missed your posts, glad to have you back! Take care.

    Kris

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Hey Kris — how awesome that you were including the HEAT in your prayers while in Italy! Thanks, as always, for following my posts here — and for the impressive HEAT support!

      • Kris says:

        Hey Monica, in all the excitement of wanting to let you know that there are candles burning at the Vatican in honor of the HEAT :D, I forgot to mention the most important thing – what a nice, heartfelt tribute to your brother. You have this way of telling a story that is just amazing, instantly drawing everyone in. Awesome!

        • grantustheluxury says:

          That’s so kind — thanks Kris… I’ve been passionate about writing and storytelling all my life, so it’s good to know something’s finally coming across on the “page.” Thanks for reading!

  13. Shawn says:

    Hey Monica – What an experience! I am so happy for you and your family. I have a feeling this will not be the first championship. Go Heat!

  14. Erna says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience and photos of being there when your brother and the Heat won the NBA championship this season! Congratulations to your family :). I’m a BIG Coach Spo & Miami Heat fan and had the pleasure of having a photo opp with Erik and some of the Heat players a couple years ago when they were in town playing the GS Warriors! Looking forward to them having another awesome season in 2012-2013!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Erna — glad to hear you find time to root for the HEAT when you’re not cheering for Golden State!

  15. Shey says:

    Congratulations to your family :) More power to Erik! (I have the BIGGEST crush on him!… hihi)
    Hello from the Philippines!! :):)

  16. Kiminhawaii says:

    Hi monica,
    Just found this blog. Love it! Thank u so much for sharing your ideas on healthy living and eating, along with your many photos! Hawaii is beautiful, have you ever been here? Besides Maui.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Kim! I’ve only been to Maui and (briefly) to Oahu. Hope to see more of the beautiful islands in future trips!

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  1. [...] happens to be one of my brother’s favorite guilty pleasures, so we definitely indulged while visiting him in Miami… this was after, mind you, I convinced Peter to pick up Dove Vivi takeout the night before we [...]



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