Sports parents — it’s just a game. Really.

Spring sports season is only a week or so underway, and I’m already a wreck.

I don’t think I’m cut out to be a Sports Mom.

This year, Cooper is playing in a level of his baseball league that is a step up from last year. It’s all kid-pitched, with more strict following of the rules of baseball, and everything is taken more seriously — not by the adults, but by the boys themselves, all of whom are suddenly viewing themselves as the Red Sox (or Yankees, if you are my son).

This year, too, Cooper is pitching. I understand he’s pretty good, though I haven’t seen it myself because I missed those games due to conflict with other sports my kids play.

I’m sort of glad. I couldn’t stand the pressure. But I guess I’ll have to learn how to be a Sports Mom, because the season is so long.

Being a sports parent is a tricky thing. You have to hold your breath and watch your child struggle and rise and struggle and fail, your heart swells with the victories and the defeats, and most of all you have to set the example of good sportsmanship, because, after all, these are still children out there on the field, not grownups.

This is an important thing for all us sports parents to remember — we are the adults. The other kids on the field, the other team? They’re children, just like ours.

I’m grateful that so far almost all of the sports parents I’ve encountered in my town seem to get this. I’m hoping that it continues in the upper levels, through high school.  Sure, some coaches are overly intense for the age level of their players, but only once did I ever hear a coach encourage his team to “crush” their opponents, or lead the girls in a victory dance worthy of a MLB playoff game. (These were 3rd graders! THIRD GRADERS!)

I don’t understand people like that. It’s just a game, after all. Sure, celebrate your wins and awesome plays — but you don’t have to cut down the other guy to do so. Especially when it’s town sports, and the opponents are your kids’ classmates, best friends, some of them. Grow up, adults.

Even while my nerves are a wreck, I’m looking forward to seeing Coop on the mound, and Mitzi too, when she has her turn pitching for her softball team. And, just as I cheer them on, I’ll also be cheering for the other kids, even those on the other team.

Because in kid sports, really, no matter what the score, there’s no reason everyone can’t walk off the field with a smile.

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10 thoughts on “Sports parents — it’s just a game. Really.

    • OMG, that pic is the sweetest. Will you think less of me if I tell you that I get teary when I read it? (And, thanks. Actually, it’s me who’s blessed…)

  1. Great post, speaking as a proud auntie who has cheered from the stands! I got a huge kick out of Cooper last Saturday when I asked him about baseball, and how his game went! He just lit up talking about it! May the light in his eyes always be there! Even though he’s a Yankee fan grrrr….

    • Aw, thanks, Maryellen! I adore the pure joy Coop has for whatever sport he’s playing. I don’t care how well he ever does, as long as he hangs on to that!

  2. A version of this should be on every youth sports field everywhere. I am so tired of parents, relatives and coaches shouting discouraging remarks at players who don’t do everything perfect.

  3. “Sure, celebrate your wins and awesome plays — but you don’t have to cut down the other guy to do so.”

    Agreed. Imagine how your child would feel if they were on the losing side of those taunts. Why should anyone’s child be belittled like that?

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