Wednesday, September 29, 2021

I Love Being a Sports Mom

 As a kid, I knew other kids who played sports, but it wasn't part of my life. I'm sure my parents had reasons, whether because I was so shy I hid behind my mom's legs, because we couldn't afford it, because my parents working hours were so funky that they couldn't figure out how to get me to and from activities, or because they simply had no idea how to register, I didn't participate in sports until high school.

In my community, sports start young, and I felt it. Additionally, my then toddler was FULL of energy, and I wanted some positive ways for him to spend it.

Once my oldest turned three, I signed up for whatever sounded interesting to him. Before kindergarten, he had tried track, swimming, and BMX. Track, not surprisingly, was a hot mess for my anxious preschooler. He did learn to swim - possibly too well for a kid his age - and he took to BMX like he had to swimming.  We completed three sessions, including a summer camp of BMX. My four-year-old pushed his body at practices, and we helped him learn that he couldn't always come in first.

I loved watching him compete. I felt such pride watching him work through the sensory challenge of the sounds of the starting bell ringing and the track gate falling. And I also really enjoyed watching how this little son of mine had such control over his body. Even when he was four, I was in awe of my son's athleticism. 

He has explored other sports. He enjoyed wrestling for fun but not for sport, hated baseball, found a home on the soccer field, and developed skills in lacrosse. 

This last summer, he had to try out for a sport for the first time.  He asked me to sign him up for higher level swim lessons so that he could learn back stroke and improve his freestyle, both of the strokes he would need for his swim team try out.

And he did it - he improved enough to make the team.  

While my son explored sports and gained skills, my daughter watched it all.  Now, she has learned to swim, she is in her third year of soccer, and she's eager to start lacrosse in the fall. I cheer on her sidelines, just as happily as on her brother's. Her growth from a four-year-old who ran across a soccer field with her arms inside her jersey to a six-year-old with complicated foot work who eagerly passes to her teammates is extraordinary.  

Now that they are both seasoned athletes in their own right, I get the bonus of watching my oldest help out at his sister's soccer practices. He asks Coach what she needs and jumps right in, assisting with drills, moving goals, encouraging the team, and getting out of the way when the girls "get" something new.

And I love it all.

I love the busy afternoons of practice. I love my turn as "snack parent" once per season. I pace the sidelines, never sitting while my kids play official games. 

In my role as a sports mom, I get to see my kids in a whole new light. They are leaders on the field, calling passes to their teammates, running to a coach for half-time wisdom. In sports, they are more than test scores or grade level equivalencies.  They are allowed to move.  

I never participate in athletics as a kid, but I'm sure glad I get to participate in kids' athletics as a mom.

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