Why I Let Sports Take Over My Life

The sounds of football — running, tackling, crushing — reverberate as the kids slam into one another defending their team. All are the sweet sounds of a mother’s nightmare!

Don’t get me wrong . . . I love football. I love just about any sport, but when it comes to sports and the kids, I instantly become “soccer” SUPER-Mom — the taxi driver, the snack provider for 40+ kids and the transporter of a tackling buddy (or dummy!).

My younger son Josh, who is now 10 years old, lives for football season! He played for the very first time last year and enjoyed every waking moment. For myself, well . . . I enjoyed most moments! Starting in August, practice is three times a week. Then, we scale down to twice a week with Saturday games once school begins. The practices are almost two hours long and hot in August. I’m not one to just sit around for two hours while a bunch of 10-year-olds run, yell and slam into one another. I admit it sounds like fun, but not for me.

So, I bring my bike to either ride the trails or I run around the paved circle over and over and over until my legs are about to fall off, but wait, “I still have an hour of hang-around time.” What about my time!? Well, I determined last year that between August and October I will forget about my hobbies, wants/needs and sacrifice my sanity, or what’s left of it, for my precious baby boy’s football “career.”

Oh, the sacrifices we make to give our children the sensation of wholeness, achievement, liberation and success! I know this firsthand from last year’s chaotic schedule and the time I spent in my car “taxiing” the boys around to their sport of choice.

The worst was in October. It was Renaissance AND Race weekend . . . some of you are already cringing as you read this because if you live anywhere near the Lake Norman or University area, these two weekends are your worst nightmare. I-77 looked like a parking lot — cars were not coming or going; they were parked! So since I’m the smart Super-Mom, I had the bright idea of traveling down Old Statesville Road, instead. I’d drop Josh off at his practice a little early at the park right off of Old Statesville, then drop Justin off at his swim practice, which was near Birkdale Village. After that, I’d double back to pick Josh up in an hour-and-a-half, followed by returning to get Justin from swim practice. WRONG!!!

I spent three hours in my car, probably traveled 10 miles total between the two practices and was late getting the football player! The coach was calling my phone, the sun set an hour ago and my poor son was wondering if his mom forgot about him! All the while, I was just sitting — sitting in my car at the same spot for at least 30 minutes at a time. Talk about road rage . . . I had road rage to an unmentionable degree! By the time we arrived home, the boys eyes were like a deer in headlights, my heart was pulsating out of my chest and no one murmured a word. Not one! We walked into the house, got ourselves ready for bed and woke to a new day without ever mentioning the prior day’s horrendous events again.

Since I’m a single mom of two boys, I am constantly thrown into sports that are male dominated. At first I was a little apprehensive about my situation, but as time went on and they played more sports, the easier it became. We have played them all: soccer, softball, basketball, football and swimming. Of all of these sports, football is our favorite. With that said, even though we love it, I don’t know much about it — meaning the names of plays, strategies, how to kick properly, throw with the twist, etc. I felt a little intimidated, but quickly realized the abilities and dedication the coaches have with their players and teams. My fearfulness of not being able to “practice” and teach Josh the basics were eased momentarily.

Josh once told me while he was giggling uncontrollably, “Mom, I know why you like to watch football, because you sure can’t play it!” At first, I was a little hurt, but what can I say, the kid had a point — I throw like a girl!

Even though the majority of the sports are male dominated, I feel great about my sons being involved and receiving the knowledge, as well as life-learned lessons from playing on a team: the competition and the sense of accomplishment and self-worth they are receiving from each and every parent, coach and teammate!

In my opinion, sports are crucial in a child’s development. It gives them the physical exercise they need, teaches them how to be team players and get along with others and, most importantly, helps build self-esteem.