Last week I received a text that confirmed something I have known for awhile – I’m a cruddy sports mom.
Anyone out there feeling me?
This post is for all of you who get excited when the forecast calls for rain on game night, and this post is for all of you who would rather spend your Saturday mornings in bed than on the sidelines. You know who you are. Don’t hang your head in shame.
This is a safe space to admit you would rather be at home under your nice, warm, downy duvet than freezing your booty off on the metal bleachers at 8:45 am on a Saturday morning while your kid does the floss and picks grass in the outfield.
I assume there have to be other parents like me. Maybe they are even posing as die-hard t-ball fans? Maybe all of that enthusiasm is just for show. Doubtful. But maybe?
I want to be more enthusiastic about it all. I really and truly do. But I’m just not.
This fall, three out of our four kids played ball. Parents, I don’t need to go into details here. You know what this means. It means lots of time spent at the ball field and a lot of time spent in the car. Lots.
And some nights, all four of them had activities at the same time. Figure that one out. It’s as crazy as it sounds.
I am starting to fully understand the phrase, “It takes a village”- because oh man, does it ever. All I can say is thank goodness my girls ended up on the same teams as our neighbors. And yay for grandparents who have moved to town.
There were plenty of evenings I would send one child with a neighbor, run another to wherever they needed to be, pop over to watch the game for 20 minutes and then jump back into the car to pick up another child. You get the drift.
I am sure if anyone was paying attention (and they probably weren’t), that I looked like a crazy lady. (Which makes me want to pause for a minute to point out, if you do happen to see a mom or dad running around like a chicken with their head cut off instead of enjoying the game – try not to judge. They are trying their best just like you. I am sure they would much rather be sitting on the bleacher cheering on the team – but life.)
And let’s not forget what happens prior to even getting out the door. The kids walk in from school and it’s – “Do you have homework? Hurry up. Get your uniform on. You have five minutes to eat. Where are you cleats? Do you have your water? Come on. We need to GO, people!”
As crazy as it feels to me, they don’t mind. Not one bit. Why? Because they are doing what they love – playing ball.
And the same was true for me when I was a kid. I have zero memories of the time between school and heading to the diamond, but I can remember what it felt like to swing the bat and watch the ball go flying. I can remember rounding the bases. I can remember being in the outfield and having a teammate teach me what it means to “fly the bird.” Yep. That happened.
I remember my team and my love of the game. I don’t remember the sacrifices my parents made to get me there. Sorry mom and dad.
And this is what keeps me going. Even though I consider myself a cruddy sports mom, I can still get into a game with the best of ’em. I love watching my children do what brings them joy.
I love the smiles on their faces and the sparkle in their eyes when they finally receive the prized game ball for a job well done. I love knowing they are experiencing camaraderie with their teammates and that they are learning the invaluable skills that come from playing on a team.
There is much to love about sports and what it teaches our children.
So what’s the problem?
I think it’s more about having multiple somethings that people have to be to every night. And every weekend.
It’s more about exhaustion.
In the beginning of the season, I am excited. By the end, I am looking at the forecast and hoping the 20% chance of rain moves up to 100%. And I’m really hoping we don’t have to drive all the way to Franklin only to have the game cancelled 30 minutes after we get there. If it’s supposed to rain, let’s just cancel the game already.
And I had hoped this was what most parents were secretly thinking. I knew I was a cruddy sports mom, but I couldn’t possibly be the cruddiest. Could I?
Turns out – maybe so.
Last week, I received a text from the coach about my daughter’s last game of the season. The text read:
“Just received word that we have won tonight’s game by forfeit! We can still use the field if the girls want to do one last mini scrimmage like we’ve done in practice (and we could get a team picture before.) Or the commissioner said she could reach out to a team with a bye this week to see if they want to play us. Please let me know your vote: (1) mini-scrimmage; (2) scrimmage another team if available; (3) no thanks – done with fall softball.”
Yes! This was the moment! We could all collectively admit what we have been feeling. Let’s be done with it all.
And then the replies came in. One two after another. 2. 2. 2. 2. All 2s.
This is the moment when I should have owned my number-3-loving self, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t let them in on my cruddy sports mom secret. My reply was, “Staying in Nolensville would be awesome!” (because the alternative was driving 20 minutes to the field where we were supposed to play that night.) I am such a chicken. Why couldn’t I just reply with 3?
The reason? Because in my heart I know what we know as parents to be true – this isn’t about me. Is it?
I think this is what all of those sports moms are on to. Just because I was tired and ready for the season to be over, doesn’t mean my daughter didn’t want to play. Of course she wanted to play. She loves softball. Just like I loved softball when I was her age.
Yes, I am a cruddy sports mom. Yes, I hope for bad weather and cancelled games on occasion. Who am I kidding? It’s not on occasion. I’m always am hoping for that. Yes, I pull out my phone sometimes during the game to check my email. Yes, I hear the alarm go off on a Saturday morning and think “WHY?” But regardless of how I feel, I will keep doing it. I will keep signing them up and running around like a crazy woman praying for the rain to fall.
Because, as parents, this is what we do. Right? We show up. We encourage. We cheer. We wash uniforms repeatedly. We sign up for our obligatory snack duty. We run from one place to the other dropping kids off and picking them up like a free taxi service.
Whether we are incredible sports moms (and dads), or cruddy ones – we are in it together. Sharing bleachers, toting snacks and feeling an overwhelming amount of love for our little people playing the game.
Yes, we are in it together. So, the next time you see a frazzled mom running to the stands yelling for her kids to “hurry up” with bags on her arms and a baby on her hip (I’m not there anymore, but I used to be), give her a fist bump and let her know you’re glad to see her.
And if you really want to make her day – tell her she is doing am amazing job and hand her the game ball.