A Sarine Thought… or Two
Put me in, Coach!
Ah, “sports-momming,” it is not for the faint of heart. It’s a non-stop, full-throttle, adrenaline-inducing race to get your child to every practice, warm-up and game whatever the sport of the moment. For some, it is a calling. For others, it is a tolerance. But for all, it is what we do on the “reg” for our precious sports-loving offspring.
Personally, I cannot claim to enjoy all aspects of the sports momming life. While I have many extroverted tendencies, I also value A LOT of time in my domestic domicile. I really love having all my people within the four walls of our home with nothing on the calendar except for the occasional spur-of-the-moment activity. However, because my son, Jack, really, REALLY loves sports, I take pleasure in stepping out of my introverted tendencies to see him enjoy something he’s passionate about. Let’s be honest, mommas, if there’s anything our kids are truly passionate about, whether it be sports, music, art, dance, or technology and that passion does not harm their little spirits, we need to be completely on board. Period.
I was not the mom who dreamed of trophies and sideline snack distribution upon learning Jack was a boy during that telling sonogram. I was more excited about all the cute baby clothes and the nursery I was going to decorate for my little boy. I had also already gotten the “okay” from his dad to be allowed to keep him in smocked clothing until, at least, two years old! (#southernmommasunite) As he got older, began playing and being mobile, it was extremely obvious that he was drawn to sports. If we would do it, that child would sit and roll a ball with either Ross or myself for hours. He just really liked it. Around two years old, he had the most precious, tiny basketball goal with little-bitty basketballs that he would slam dunk. You better know that we were cheering on every basket! So cute!
Then, we entered the time of organized sports. We tried all that were available to us: soccer, tee-ball, basketball and flag football. Let it just be said, there is nothing cuter than a 3’-5” child in a ball cap and jersey purchased large enough for their name and number to fit across the back! I could eat those kids up with a spoon! EEEEKKK! At the beginning, it was like watching two adults herd cats between white lines on a small field of grass. It was adorable! As Jack grew and he learned the ropes of each sport, the entertainment was more sport-focused and less child-focused. When he hit his first home run off the tee, I thought I had won parenting. It was exhilarating! As he rounded third for home, his little face was so precious. He knew he had done something well, and that brought him joy. My face was as tear drenched as it was aggressively proud. People had to help me sit back down in my lawn chair! Let’s just say, Jack may have had more grace about his success than I did.
Each season brought new challenges and necessary shoes. Good grief! We even had to buy new cleats in the middle of a season because Jack’s feet were growing so quickly. Just as a side note: he is currently twelve years old and wears a size 12 men’s shoe. That’s how that works, right? Age = Shoe size? We go big or go home at the Sarine household. Foot-growth aside, I also noticed that he was developing competitiveness and ways of handling conflict that Ross and I were not intentionally teaching him. Not only was he enjoying his own successes, but he was finding that he enjoyed seeing his teammates excel, as well. If one of his teammates got a great hit, made a basket, scored a goal, or snagged a flag, Jack would run over for a high-five, or a chest-bump, to celebrate with his teammate. If somebody got in his way, or didn’t pass the ball, he was learning to get over the frustration more and more quickly and with fewer tears. He was also learning to be a good sport. At the end of the game, when the scoreboard did not read like we wanted, he was learning that it wasn’t the end of the world; improvement could be made to change the outcome on the next trip out. Through sports, Jack was developing a number of character traits that Ross and I hoped he would embody as an adult.
Another aspect of sports I really enjoy is the comradery with teammates and their parents. Some seasons, teams are amazingly talented and have great synergy. Victory is almost a given each week. This is so fun, especially for the competitive parents out there. (I, myself, am a card-carrying member of the HCPC [Hyper Competitive Parent Club] and proud of it!) Other seasons lead to more of a character-building exercise with losses outnumbering wins. Both cases are excellent opportunities to bond with your child’s friends and their parents. Some of my dearest friends have been made on the sidelines of a ball field as we cheer and encourage the kids, each as if our own. If you have ever been part of a team with really good parents, you know that those people truly love your kiddo too. I end up wanting success for Jack’s teammates as much as I want it for him. It is a unique and valuable aspect of team sports.
As I write this, we are gearing up for our spring sport of choice: baseball. I’m so looking forward to it. The smell of freshly cut grass clippings, dirt, microwaved, canned nacho cheese, leather gloves and adolescent b.o. define springtime for our family. While my time on the couch will be lessened in the coming weeks, my time with my family, both immediate and “team-mediate” will be rich and plentiful. So, here’s to a season with a good combination of winning and character-building because those are what make sports-momming sooooo worth it!