For every picture of your friends’ kid in their soccer / t-ball / taekwondo / lacrosse/ dance / basketball (insert any f’ing sport or activity with a uniform), smiling their head off is the reality of some uncoordinated, unfocused, waste of time experience.
When did we turn into a society where it was encouraged, hell MANDATED, for every kid to play sports from in utero on? And to invest so much of their and our time and money at such young ages when they don’t even have the focus or coordination to really do it?
What sucks is the pressure we parents feel to sign them up for it all… wouldn’t want to deny your kid the experience would you?
We signed my then kindergartener up for basketball… BIG MISTAKE. It became neon-sign-flashing apparent that our kid lacked the focus, motivation and coordination to even do the drills at practice. There we a few others in the same boat, but there were also a few who apparently either had older siblings plus an insane amount of natural athleticism because these little fuckers were all stars sinking layups like clockwork.
I had every intention of not being a worked-up psycho sports mom. I looked at other parents – the too-intense ones – you know who I’m talking about – and judged them harshly internally, vowing NEVER to act like those douchebags. But yet – here I was – at the first game no less – barking “helpful instructions” (as I perceived it) to my spacey son as he was spending his time nowhere near the ball.
I couldn’t believe how frustrated with him I was. I saw other kids engaged in the sport and my kid (and he wasn’t the only one I was told later – although you get this “tunnel vision” for your kid and don’t see any others acting nearly as weird and spacey) was so NOT into the game at all. I didn’t think or want or expect my kid to be the next basketball Phenom, but I expected him to at last pay attention to the game around him.
My husband pulled me aside after the first game and gave me his perspective on my behavior. After I got past my defensiveness (what did that jerk know?) I developed a plan. Whenever my kid would look at me in the stands, I’d plaster a smile on my face and give him a thumbs up – no matter what.
For those of you who don’t know – This is Arthur Fonzarelli – A.K.A. “Fonzie” or “The Fonz” from Happy Days – one of the three shows available to watch on tv in the 70’s…
Sounds easy, right? It was FUCKING HARD! I found it harder to do that than prepare for the SAT’s. But, so is parenting. I now truly understand the phrase GRIN AND BEAR IT.