The Parents' Guide to Surviving Springtime Youth Sports
What a long, hard winter this has been. I am over it.
It is practically spring if you ask me. The most wonderful time of the year. If you have children, you are probably involved in youth sports. Maybe even multiple sports. For those of you who aren’t, let me tell you what you are missing.
You are a mom. You already have to get up early on the weekend. Forget relaxing with coffee. You might as well spend it at a sports complex.
You have an impossible list of things to remember for every game: gear, snacks, water, sunscreen, toys, technology, towels, jackets, AND your kid. You are always going to forget something. If it happens to be your kid, you must go back for him. Anything else, you can wing it.
Just because you get up on time, doesn’t mean you will ever make it to the game on time. There is no rush like sliding in on two wheels, and racing toward the field, carrying your kid and all his gear. You have just worked in your exercise for the day.
Spring is a time of transition. The weather will either be too hot or too cold. There is absolutely no chance that you will dress correctly. But it sure is fun trying.
You will be covered in dirt. It will be in your mouth. Dirt eventually starts to taste normal.
You will spend hours on metal benches. Metal benches are comfy to sit on, said no one ever.
Unless all of your kids are on the same team, you will have someone sitting on that metal bench with you, who is bored out of her mind. A bored kid is exhausting.
You will think about all of the money that you paid on fees and gear this season, as you watch your 5-year-old sit on the field, with his socks and shoes removed.
Is he picking flowers?
There is always that one kid on the team, who makes you feel like a failure as a parent. You tell yourself, she was obviously born with unrealistic natural-talent. She still has her shoes on and everything. What are we doing wrong?
You watch your kid do a terrific slide into third base. Which completely puzzles you, because he was playing outfield. Now his white pants are covered in red dirt. His small moment of fun, will now cost you hours in the laundry room and he didn’t even get called safe.
Getting baseball pants clean requires no less than three chemicals, tons of elbow grease, and three wash cycles. They STILL won’t be clean. You throw them away and buy a new pair. Single wear baseball pants can get expensive.
At least one game a season, you will be responsible for the team snack. No pressure but you had better make it both delicious and healthy. Everyone is watching you open that cooler.
You look at your once black, shiny vehicle. It is completely covered in red dirt and gravel dust. The good news is you won’t have to wash it until the season ends. Why bother? Dirty is the new clean. Dirty says I love my kids.
Outdoor sports require cleats. Cleats are evil. They are either caked with mud or dusty with dirt. Either way your car interior and your home will never be the same.
You will feel like all of your money went to sporting goods stores. I have actually gone to three different stores before looking for the correct shin guards.
Spring is supposed to be fun. Your life now revolves around the practices and games of a five-year-old. Your Saturdays are no longer your own. Heaven help you if you have kids on different teams. Last spring we had soccer for breakfast, baseball for lunch, and more baseball for supper
Before the season is over, you will swear that you are NOT going to put yourself through this next year. It is just too much of a hassle.
But then it happens. You see your little guy walk on deck. It is his at bat. Just look at those adorable baseball pants.
You stand to cheer because that is YOUR baby up there. He gets in his stance. He is baseball ready. His eye is on the ball. You hold your breath.
Pitch one. He swings. He misses. That’s okay.
Pitch two. He swings.He misses. You still believe.
This is it. The third pitch flies at him. He connects. It sails into the outfield.
The crowd goes crazy! He stands there, dazed. You yell for him to RUN!! RUN!! He races for first base. Will he make it? It all seems to be happening in slow motion.
He slides in. He is safe!
That is THE most amazing feeling as a parent.
Your family is jumping around like he just won the world series. You yell “great job” and “Mommy loves you.” He looks like he could crawl under a rock and die. All of his friends are watching your family go on and on like a bunch of lunatics.
Because you are a bunch of lunatics. Because that is your right as a parent.
And there’s your answer. THAT is EXACTLY why we do it every week.
We don’t REALLY do all of this for him. I mean, sure he has fun every now and then, but this is all for us. There is no feeling like everyone cheering for your kid. Like your kid sliding in. Like your kid scoring.
Your chest swells with pride.
Mercy, this is just little league. I will never be able to handle the major leagues.
Because that is where he is headed you know. Did you see that talent?
Ask any mother about her kid. She will tell you.