How important is it for your child to excel in athletics? Author Marnie Pehrson vows not to be like some moms who can’t cope if their kids aren’t the shining stars. Read her revealing essay on discovering what’s important.
No soccer mom here
First off, I’ll never be a soccer mom because, well, soccer isn’t a popular sport around our house. Other sports are – like basketball, baseball and football. But, I’ll never be one of those moms who worry whether little Johnny is the best on the team and who says things like, “I think we’re going to have a good team this year.”
I grew up in a household where basketball was religion. My dad had us playing basketball from third grade on. It was not a game in our house; it was a subject as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Unfortunately for me, although I was smart in school, basketball was a subject in which I would never make straight A’s. Oh, I’d give myself a B- maybe. But I was never all-star material. I vividly remember the one to two hour critique sessions after every ball game. Basketball went from something I enjoyed to an ulcer-producing event.
Why are you here?
My boys are playing basketball this year. I get such a kick out of some of the moms on the sidelines. My husband is coaching our fifth grader’s team this year, so I take our third grader to practice. My son is the youngest one on the team, he’s only played one year before, and I can hardly keep from laughing when watching him play. Vivid basketball memories flow through my mind as I remember the poor little kid that no one wanted to throw the ball to – that’s my kid. I remember that “why are you here?” look the team stars gave anyone who weren’t as skilled as they were. Now those girls are moms sitting on the sidelines and giving me those looks – cause my son’s the runt of the team.
No, I’ll never be a sports mom. When some mothers start to talk about what kind of team we’re going to have, or start commenting on how embarrassed they were because their child didn’t play as well as he could have in the last game, or how they wish little Johnny would stop dancing around and listen to the coach, I just sit there and think to myself, “For heaven’s sake, they’re third graders! It’s just a game!”
Give into the urge and live a little
Every time I go watch my son play, I get this overwhelming urge to grab a basketball and start driving it to the goal. I often wonder how much fun it would be, and how much better a player I would be if I could go back in time and play again with my adult perspective on life. I mean, really, how important is it in the grand scheme of things whether a ball game is won or lost, whether you’re the best on the team, the worst, or somewhere in between? It doesn’t matter one lick. How I’d love to just get out there and play and enjoy it.
Last night, I gave into the urge before practice, grabbed a ball and started shooting with the boys. It was wonderful. Basketball felt like it should feel – something fun and enjoyable. I’m sure the other mothers thought I was totally insane. But who cares? I’m over worrying about what other people think. How liberating! What freedom to just enjoy life without worrying about what anybody else thinks of you!
Next time I’m bringing my own basketball to practice so I don’t have to wrestle one from a third grader.