From the first time I met Alex I got the sense that he was going to be more athletic than the rest of us. We were at a park and he was 16 months old and he gleefully toddled over to a bar and began to swing from it.
Nothing in my pre-kid life prepared me for being a sports mom. I was never sporty. Oh, I’ve always been active, but that is not the same thing as sporty. Sporty involves a level of hand eye coordination I find uncomprehensible. So, when my son revealed himself as one who never found a sport he didn’t like, I wasn’t sure how to fulfill the role of sports mom. My husband, if anything, is even MORE clueless on the whole sports thing.
But how to best support my son’s love of sports? When we tried to cheer at soccer games, for instance, it became clear that we didn’t quite have the concept down. We’ve been known to cheer heartily when the opposing team makes a particularly awesome play. And I’ve cheered and yelled, “Great kick!” only to hear the coach yelling, “No, No, NO, that is exactly what I told you NOT to do!” Clearly, “great kicks” have many interpretations and while my only requirement may be for a foot to actually make contact with the ball, his coach had other requirements.
When playing endless hours of catch during baseball season I would try to offer advice—“uh, er, squeeze the mitt thingy harder?” Yes, coaching advice ending in question marks always instills confidence. Initially I felt quite the failure at this whole sports mom thing.
After a while though, I did decide I had something going on with my sheer lack of comprehension of sport. This sports thing? It’s his gig. Since I’m clearly not qualified to comment on his performance other than, “GO Alex!”—I don’t. I don’t nag him to get ready for practice because, if truth be told, I’d rather stay home and read a book. Oh, there’s nagging but it is all of the “Mom, let’s go! I’m going to be LATE!” type.
Once I got through lamenting on how I didn’t know how to be a sports mom and decided to leave the coaching to his coach, I realized my true job is that of chaeuffer and cheerleader. Even on the bad days. Especially on the bad days. At a state championship trampoline meet he had a bad landing and ended up with a score much lower than he had wanted. He didn’t say much except that his ankle hurt and so I nursed him and brought icepacks. While he wasn’t willing to accept comfort for the disappointment, he was willing to have an injury nursed. Us sports moms dole it out where we can.
So, besides cheerleader, chauffer, and the occasional nurse, what are the jobs of a sports mom?
To take advantage of the many photo ops provided of course. Make sure the batteries are charged on that camera and have it ready.
Oh, and bring snacks of course.
Look at him! He’s adorable! I can’t wait to see the pictures of him flying high on the trampoline.
Omg, that is a strong 16 month old baby! I love this post. I don’t have a kid that into sports yet, but I would be in the same boat as you if I did. The only problem is that I hate chauffeuring. I guess that with 3 kids, I’d better just get over that. I can do the photo op thing, that’s for sure!