Having passed up the opportunity to play sports in school and later (after becoming a runner) realizing what I missed out on, I have not-so-secretly longed for one of my daughters to play a team sport so I could live vicariously through them.
So I was thrilled when Kelly joined her school’s volleyball team this year, but I quickly learned that I wasn’t the typical sports mom.
Sarah Palin, the self-described pit bull of a hockey mom, would be so ashamed of my Sports Mom Manifesto:
1. I probably won’t be at every game. I love you more than you’ll ever know, but you are not the center around which my world revolves. It’s likely I’ll be at most games, but if it’s more than a 30-minute drive or I’ve got something else I really need/want to do, I’ll chalk it up to teaching you a little independence and self-sufficiency. There’s a bus.
2. I may clap for the other girls. I’m a champion for all girls/women. If one of the players on the court makes a good save or has a really solid hit, I’m likely to cheer for her, even if she’s not on your team.
3. I will not yell anything… ever. I will never shout instructions, encouragement, or criticism at you, the refs, the coaches or any player on the court. Silence is golden.
4. I will not hate the other players. Every girl on that court is someone’s precious daughter. And, it’s likely their family and friends are in the stands, perhaps sitting right next to me.
5. I may dislike the other parents. I can’t help but silently judge parents who comment on others players’ performance and/or berate their own child.
6. You can’t join a travel team. Don’t even ask me. See No. 1 above. Also, there’s more to life. Watch clouds, help your grandmother weed her flowerbed, bake cookies, walk the dog, catch salamanders in the creek out back.
7. I will never question an official. Even if he or she is wrong or makes a bad call, you’ll never hear me disrespect an official. And I’d better never hear you do it.
8. I don’t do spirit wear. It’s unlikely you’ll ever see me wearing a button the size of a coaster with your face on it or shelling out big bucks for spirit wear because it feels obnoxious to me.
9. I won’t force your sister to attend. While I would like your little sister to support and cheer you, I won’t force her to attend your games. I spent half my youth at baseball and soccer fields watching my brothers play and I’m still kinda pissed off about it.
10. I won’t lose perspective. It’s a game. Just a game. A way to stay fit, make friends, have some fun, and learn about teamwork, tenacity, and how to be a gracious athlete. You’ll learn a lot whether you win or lose. And your performance in no way reflects on my parenting skills, nor does it reflect on your success or value as a human being.