Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Domestic Enemies of the Sports Mom

Kate and I are accidental sports moms. We always swore that we would never, ever be THAT mom. The one whose whole life revolved around practices and games and clinics every single day.  Who had no weekends.  How stupid are they?!

Now we know.

Because our kids fell in love with sports (collectively, baseball, karate, swimming and tennis) and so we found ourselves spending all our time and money doing exactly that and being THOSE moms. 

As much as we hate to admit it, being a Sports Mom is sort of like driving a mini-van.  It's freeing. It's sort of fun. Once you've given up the idea of having free time or disposable income, it becomes kind of great. But there are enemies. Oh yes... There are.  Our pal Sheri explains it all...
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I am a Sports Mom. I had no idea how easy my parents had it because they only had one child (me) who played sports. I have 3. And I’m a single mom. So…it’s just…me. HOLY COW. Whuck was I thinking when we first enrolled Speedy (my oldest) in soccer when he was 4 ½? Here is the mantra I have lived by during my kids childhood. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Who knew that the entire family would take to sports like ducks take to water. Only in our house, the sports.never.end.

  • Speedy, my 17 year old son, during the course of his lifetime, has played soccer, indoor soccer, baseball, basketball, and has now settled on running cross country and track.
  • MonsterMe (my 13-year old daughter and so named because she is taller than me) has tried and rejected dance (there are videos that I plan to release should she ever attempt to put me in a nursing home or run for Congress), gymnastics, soccer, and has settled on softball and a never-ending basketball season (Seriously. We go from August-May).
  • Muddy Waters (my 10-year old son and so named because if there is a mud puddle within 50 yards, he will find it and jump in it) has played soccer, baseball, hip hop dance, and has now decided that football is his sport. Someone send aspirin.
Being a dedicated sports mom is more difficult than it sounds. I keep a calendar, as most moms do. I plugged in all of the various sporting activities. Each child gets a different color. When I counted the number of sporting activities I was due to attend in a 30 day period last spring, there were 26. Twenty. Six. This didn’t count practices, dance, or other school-related activities or family-related activities.

Or, by the way, work.

I’ve been known to show up to sporting events in work clothes. Do you have any idea how little fun it is to walk out onto a soccer field in 3 inch high heels because you forgot you were going to soccer (outdoors) instead of basketball (indoors)? I do. My butt is permanently bleacher shaped and I have no feeling in my legs for 11 months out of the year. The other mothers think I’m unfriendly because my favorite saying is “Did my kid just score that goal/basket/hit? NO? Good. I didn’t miss anything.” I don’t mean it in a bad way, but I was waiting on a text from someone I sent to a different game to see if one of my other kids did something spectacular that I’m missing.

Here are my enemies:

The UNIFORM
"Moooooom. Where is my uniform?" Why am I constantly asked this question? Was I the last person to wear said uniform? No. Yet for some reason, all three of them think that I hide it the minute it comes into the house. It would be different if I coveted a stinky, sweaty track uniform or if I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a muddy soccer uniform, but the only thing I want to do is get them in the washer. Many of our conversations the night before a game/tournament go like this:

Random Heathen: “Moooooom. What did you do with my uniform?”
Me: “I gave it to homeless people.”
Random Heathen: “That’s not funny. Seriously. It’s not where I left it.”
Me: (curious now) “ Which was….?”
Random Heathen: “In my bag. (Suspiciously). Did you take it out to WASH it?”
Me: “You’ve caught me. Check the dryer.”
Random Heathen: “Great. Now it will be all clean and stuff.”

Indeed. What on earth was *I* thinking?

Packing the bag:
Seriously. Have we not done this before? About a hundred times before? This season alone? What do you need? Uniform. Shoes. Glove. Ha.t Cup. (No, not you, MonsterMe, the boys.) Snacks for the bus. What do you mean it is a home game? I’m pretty sure it is an away game. Check the schedule. See, I’m right. And it goes on, and on, and on.

And you know what? They still forget something. Every.single.time.

The Schedule
Good lord people. Focus. We have a schedule. Particularly on tournament days for MonsterMe. She plays AAU Basketball where they do NOT mess.around. We play 3 games per day and they are intensely focused on the matter at hand. So throw in the uniform and the packing of the bag and add in the packing of Muddy Waters for a day of fun (Nintendo DS plus a day full of snacks PLUS mom and her assorted crap and we need to be OUT THE DOOR RIGHT THIS MINUTE because we have to drive for an hour and I don’t want to be yelled at by the coach for being late AGAIN). Did I mention this is how I spend my LEISURE time on the weekends?

Ah yes. The EVENTS THEMSELVES
MonsterMe plays AAU basketball. Last year alone we played 140 games. Speedy runs. He runs a lot. Muddy Waters plays soccer. In some of these events, the parents act like their child is the second coming of Michael Jordan/Steve Prefontaine/David Beckham. Perhaps it is that I just do not care anymore (having 3 kids do as many sports as mine do will wear you down a bit) but seriously…unless my kid is jumping over someone’s shoulders to do a complete 360 dunk or breaking the record for the 3 mile, I’m not getting too excited anymore. If we win, we win. If we lose, we have 139 games left to play.

So guess what, crazy sports parent? STOP YELLING at your kid, at my kid, at the coaches, the referees, the guy selling concessions, and the parking attendant. It just embarrasses your kid and makes you look like a loon. Speedy runs like the wind. I couldn’t keep up with him if I had a bike sometimes. All I yell is “Go!” Muddy Waters is happiest when his uniform is the dirtiest. I’ve learned just to take pictures and bring a towel.

Suck it, 8 year old losers. We just WON.
Just because your kid PLAYS sports does not necessarily mean that your kid is going to be GOOD at sports. Enjoyment does not equal mastery. Screaming at your child from the sidelines is not going to help the kid learn to love the sport any more or be any better at it. It may even make the kid hate it and take up chess (not that there is anything wrong with chess. Hey…maybe my kids could play chess?? I’ll bet there isn’t a lot of travel involved there. Note to self: buy a chess board.). My point is that kids play sports for all kinds of reasons and they have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. If YOU want to play whatever sport again…go do it. Let your kid enjoy his/her childhood.

So..there you have it. Enemies of a sports mom. If you see me out, looking slightly confused, please tell me to check my calendar to figure out what sporting event I’m supposed to be at now. I’m probably in the wrong spot.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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