As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a pink home. The world of boys, balls, and sports was beyond foreign to me. Of course, girl world can be full of sports and competition too, but I wasn’t one of those girls. It was all violin, barbies, and piano. Jumping rope on the playground was about as active as I got. My sisters and I played paper dolls inside and made salads out of weeds and acorns outside in the woods.
Then I entered the world of boys. And wow – mine like to run around, like a lot. The natural thing to do is to get them into something – anything – to burn off some of that energy. So around age two while still in diapers, they both began to run off their toddler chub up and down the soccer field. It’s the first activity the little ones can enter around here, and thus our world of sports began.
My stomach is in a knot. Really… really? Is that what happens now? He’s eight. Does that seem incredibly young to anyone else, or am I just being naïve? I can’t rationalize it all because it all just seems so… intense.
The schedules can be intense. The coaching can be intense. The parents can be intense. People talk about each others kids… or a lot about their own. Try-outs are strange. The politics that go into it all can totally suck you in. Who is better friends with which coach, who has an older brother that has lead the way, who is playing house ball versus travel versus flag versus tackle. Who is playing up, who is playing down. Who is taking lessons, who has a private coach, who did the extra camps. So much chit chat about something that is still so… innocent.
At least I like to think it is.
See, I watch the games to see L’s face light up when he hits that line drive. Or when he slides into second with a goofy grin. I cheer just as hard for his friends – competition or not.
I like to bring popsicles for the little siblings who are cheering on their big brothers, and once in awhile an occasional adult cocktail for that 5PM Saturday practice (wink wink).
I try to teach L to thank the coaches after each and every game because it is a lot of work and time to fit in for dads who simply don’t have a lot of time to give.
I pack full sports gear for B so he can somewhat think he’s on the team while I’m snapping photos of plays and texting them to grandparents. I cheer at an appropriate level and bake hot dog melts after Sunday night baseball practices and serve warm bowls of chili after 45 degree football games. We have teammates over to bond and run and play in our wide open front yard free of rules, parents, and coaches. Always the best games, in my opinion, not to mention we have the most extreme ball and gatorade bottle hunt in the world the next morning (sorry Tina!).
Because that’s the appropriate world of sports in my opinion, for an eight year old. It’s one I can wrap my mind around and be proud to be apart of. It’s what I’m going to continue to encourage and to stand by, as everything else is insignificant. And most importantly, I’m going to be sure that L (and B!) understand that after each and every game all I feel is this.
Who’s with me?
P.S. The ‘race to nowhere‘ is a wonderful view, should you have the time.