This weekend my oldest son, Keaton, finished another season of tackle football. He has now played three seasons of football, two seasons of baseball and one season of basketball so far. He is 7.
My middle son, Lincoln, has also played one season of baseball. He is 5.
And with one more boy still putting in his time in the stands being a super fan, McCoy who is 3, we are clearly just getting started. I am still just testing out the waters of being a sports mom.
I am loving it!
But not in the exact ways I thought I would.
Growing up I loved to play sports. I started playing Little League Baseball when I was in the 3rd grade. I was sure I was going to play baseball forever! My love to compete was born.
It wasn’t until middle school when I moved to a basketball-loving small town in Washington that my options grew. It was pretty hard to blend in as the new kid at a tiny school when you are approaching the 6 foot mark as a middle schooler.
“Do you play basketball?” I was asked on my very first day.
“Nope, never touched one.”
That would quickly change.
I loved growing up in a small town and getting to have so many opportunities to play sports. I ended up playing basketball, volleyball, softball and track all through middle and high school. (Our school was so small they allowed us to do two sports in the spring so both teams would have enough players). It was some of the best times in my life being on those courts and fields. I loved every minute of it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t go on to play in college, something I often look back on and wish I would have at least tried to do. I still occasionally get to play some city league sports and re-live those “glory days” just a bit. And it helps feed my competitiveness. Trust me, it needs to be tamed. Even last night my oldest made a comment that he thinks Dad is more competitive than Mom. The fact that I strongly wanted to dispute that statement should very much prove my point.
Anyhow, my time is done. I had my chance and it was great but I knew it wasn’t completely over. A love for sports is still in my blood and I had always hoped that when I had kids someday that they would want to play. Then in a sense I would get to live it all over again.
Not in the way that I was going to live through my kids and force them to do all the things I should have done or didn’t get to do. Nobody wants to be that parent.
Rather in the sense that I would simply get to enjoy the games again. Have a team to root for and a team to be part of with other parents.
But over these first 3 years I am already finding it is so much more than that.
There is something pretty indescribable about getting to watch my kid become part of a team, watch them win and lose, watch them compete, and watch them develop a love for a game. Getting to teach them about adversity and how to win and lose with class. Teaching them that winning is great but learning from those losses is what makes us better.
In addition to all of that, the part I least expected was the JOY.
The joy I find in their growth and their success. The time he ran for that first touchdown that took him two seasons to earn. Or the last at bat of the last game of the season when he finally got that first homerun.
Honestly, I wanted to cry I was so happy for them.
Seriously Deena!? cry? At a first grader’s baseball game?
Get ahold of yourself!
I seriously could not believe that I was on the verge of tears! I can’t be that mom either. The one crying on the sidelines every time their kid does something good, that could hinder a kid’s reputation right?
But like I said, I just wasn’t prepared for the emotions I felt in those moments. How proud I was for them. How much joy I felt in seeing my kids grow and learn and take on a challenge. This was the part I could have never anticipated. At this age it is so easy to see them improve from one season to the next because they have so much to learn. That growth is so exciting to watch and as a mom feels better than any game I’ve ever played in as a player myself.
Now maybe I am crazy, or emotional, or competitive, or whatever you want to call it, but I like sports. I really, really like sports. And now I LOVE watching my kids play them.
I hope this truly is just the start and that I will have many more seasons to be a sports mom on the sidelines. It is my new favorite thing to do and brings me more joy than I thought possible.
I can’t promise that I will always be able to hold back those tears on the sidelines, but I can promise that I will always be there, cheering them on as their biggest fan.
This is going to be fun…