When my brother and I were in sports as kids( honestly a very short lived period) I remember my mom sitting in her car and getting out only when my brother was playing . There was no cheering for every kid or both teams. This wasn’t something to be taken to seriously it was a group of 8 year olds running around with sticks in recreation provided pinnies. There was no lugging of equipment, no snack requirements, no bringing your own chairs and a cooler to hang out. You simply came, watched and went home .
Now a days a lot goes into having a kid in sports. There is equipment, time commitment and some serious out of pocket expenses. And there is the social aspect. The fact that this isn’t just a game or a practice this is an activity on your social calendar that you devote a significant amount of time to.
And honestly I suck at it
Reasons Why I’m a Bad Sports Parent
I forget the equipment. My kid is most likely to be the kid without the goggles at swim class or the one lacking a water bottle during soccer practice. Granted I think that two breaks for water during a half hour practice is a bit much. And yes coach I saw the dirty look you gave when my son loudly screamed, “My Mom forgot my water bottle”.
I don’t put it on the calendar. I regularly find myself making plans only for Jackson to remind me that we have swim class. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important it’s just that I assume that since we do it every week I will remember it, clearly I don’t.
I regularly contemplate skipping. Again not because I don’t think it’s important but because sometimes we are having too much fun swimming together in the pool or we are enjoying a lazy Saturday as a family and I hate to disturb the rare moment of peace. But we do go and have only missed one soccer practice (we were on vacation) and one swim lesson (he had stitches and wasn’t allowed to swim).
The idea of a calendar full of practices makes me anxious. I have a fear of commitment (not that kind of commitment) of my time. I hate always having to be somewhere and when I have a week packed full of commitments, I get overwhelmed.
Standing around with a bunch of parents making small talk sounds about as appealing as a kids birthday party. I know some parents love this. I know it’s a great way to make friends. I see the Facebook photos and the #lovemysoftballfamily . And if that works for you that’s great, I’m all about making friends. It just doesn’t work for me.
It makes me dislike other parents. So maybe we reach a point where we are chatting and becoming friends and then I hear you yell at your 4 year-old that they are “letting the team down by not practicing”. Or I hear you talking about the kid on the field that isn’t very into the game commenting that he “probably isn’t very competitive and isn’t going to get far with that kind of attitude”. These are kids, this isn’t the pros. And comments like those make me hate sports parents.I can’t take it seriously. Maybe it’s because my husband and I are seriously unathletic and come from a long line of unathletic people, and I know that my son’s chances of going pro are about as good as my chances of winning the lottery. So if he wins or if he loses, I’m more concerned if he tried hard and had fun.
I’m not a sports person. I never owned a pair of cleats, I never wore goggles when playing in the pool as a kid. I was kinda shocked to find out that my 4 year old needed cleats for soccer (aren’t those for professionals?) and that goggles were a must at swimming (what happened to the sweet sting of chlorine in your eyes). I’m not competitive and I don’t know most of the rules and usually after about an hour of any sport I’ve lost interest.Sports parents this is not about you, it’s totally about me. I feel like a bit of a stranger in a strange land when I stand on a sports field. And I’m never going to be the person who gets it right. I’ll forget the water bottle and I won’t bring my own collapsible chair to practice, and I’ll likely be standing as far away from the action as possible. But I promise I don’t hate youth sports. And like you I’m there cause I love my kid and love supporting whatever sport happens to be in season.