Kids and sports.
When you're wishing for your child to "make the team" there are several factors you need to consider that you may not have thought of before.
1. Where do you live?
The weather plays a very big part in how much you enjoy being a spectator at these games. I've sat at softball games and my fingers were so numb they turned white. I've sat at baseball games with the sun beating down so hard my neck turned red and I was drenched with sweat. And let's just say swim meets do nothing for my curly hair.
2. Do you value your free time? Are you protective of it?
Fuhgettaboutit. You no longer have free time. You will either be driving to and from practice, or to and from games, or sitting AT games. There will be practice after school hours as well as Saturdays and sometime Sunday afternoons as well. Free time is a thing people dream of.
3. Do you enjoy family dinners and/or cooking for your family?
If not? Then this is brilliant for you. No longer will there be a set time for dinner. No longer will you have any idea when you will have the time to even create a meal. Let alone collect your people long enough to eat it. Family time no longer exists.
4. How do you feel about your butt?
If you think it needs a little flattening then kids team sports are for you! I can almost guarantee the bleacher butt factor will come into play. If you are already feeling your gluteus maximus is too flat and/or to spread out, I recommend investing in some sort of bleacher seats. Yes, you will look like a crazy fan parent…however, we're talking about your butt here and that ranks fairly high on my list!
5. How early do you want your kids to have a cell phone?
If your four-year-old is playing T-ball? Then you better get him his own iPhone. Coaches rarely start and/or finish on time and you won't want to leave the little bugger out there on the field by himself.
6. Do you enjoy throwing your money out the window?
It starts out fairly small with a team fee and maybe a new pair of cleats or knee pads or running shorts. But it escalates quickly. Required colored socks. Under armor. Spikes. And then there is the new phenomenon called "Spirit Wear". This is where they send your child home with all the wonderful things he can buy printed with the team logo along with their name. Pretty soon they have $300 in their shopping cart of what we would consider "play clothes".
7. Are you a singer? Maybe a public speaker?
Then the grandstands are not for you. There is a definite amount of screaming and/or cheering and/or yelling your child's name at the top of your lungs that is required. You will either need to invest in throat lozenges or give up any sort of singing/speaking career that you had in mind.
8. Speaking of the grandstands. How are your anger issues?
Are you one of those easily ticked off people, or someone who rates high with the "justice factor"? Let's just say you've now been forewarned. I've seen many a parent lose their sanctification when little Bobby gets called out at first base.
9. Do you love crazy obnoxious colors?
You know royal blue, red, black, Golden Eagle yellow? You will be expected to wear team colors to each and every match, race, game etc. Forget looking cute. You WILL to be wearing over priced "play clothes"! Bonus for us? The man-child trades in "Charger" blue for "Eagle" blue in the fall. It might work.
10. Let's be honest. Are you in this for yourself or for your kids?
Did he really ask to be on the jump rope squad, the dive team AND lacrosse? Did maybe mommy or daddy have a sub par athletic career? There is nothing worse than having freezing fingers, a sunburned back, and a flat bleacher butt for the kid that really doesn't want to be there in the first place.
My advice? Let them choose.
11. Are you in this for the Olympics? Scholarships? Major leagues?
It sure seems like you have to be these days. Kids are playing their sports year-round. Travel league. Summer league. Winter league. Indoor league. Outdoor league. 20,000 leagues under the sea. It's maddening.
What happened to athletics as something we did "just for fun"? As an add-on? As something that may peak our interest for a season or two?
Our story? Four kids. Four different sports. We never sold out to the madness yet we still live under the crazed athletic code. Even without the summer leagues or travel ball it still has taken all of our time and money and emotion.
But, they love it.
They are busy every afternoon.
They have a core group of friends unlike any other.
They know what it means to work hard and get results.
They have a respect for coaches umpires and refs.
They are in shape.
I don't write this to discourage you. I wouldn't trade it for the world. However, do not be naïve. Be aware. Having your kid involved in sports is one of the biggest commitments you will ever make of your own personal time and finances. Be prepared.
But seriously. And I mean this with all love. Your kid is not going pro. I hate to be the one to break it to you. With that in mind. Enjoy the game. Wave the banner. Learn the cheer. And remember...your kid is just that...a kid. Let them be one.
Now really...how does my butt look in these royal blue track pants?
Go team Go.
signed, avid team mom,