My sons’ eager and dedicated coaches just sent out the spring practice/ game schedules and I’m feeling stressed.
Wilson and my three boys (ages 6, 8, and 12) are consumed with sports. If they aren’t watching games or highlights, they are discussing teams, stats, strategies, trades, plays, and records. But they’re in all their glory when actually playing sports– which they do, a lot.
Their sports calendar is my version of March Madness, only it extends through June. There are carpools, equipment checks, and enough Gatorade to fill an Olympic-sized pool. Since Wilson doesn’t get home until after 7:30pm, much of the time management and driving to these athletic commitments falls on me.
We just came off winter– our slowest sports season—with only basketball and some indoor soccer. It was nice to have some free weekends to make plans or do a house project. But now we’re heading into primetime sports insanity. 6-year-old Eli will have two Little League T-ball practices and one afternoon of basketball, but my two older jocks are both on baseball and travel soccer teams. That translates to a combined total of 8 practices and a minimum of 5 games a week.
Did I mention that I am not a sports fan? Yeah, I really don’t give a hoot who won the Rangers game last night, for whom Manning will play next season, or that Lehigh upset Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It’s actually kind of crazy that I even know these facts at all, except that I live with 3 little sports tickers who constantly spew factoids, so I learn by athletic osmosis.
I find myself feigning interest just to have the pleasure of conversing with them. Those of you who have boys—or a husband for that matter—know that they aren’t prone to excessive talking or sharing. So when they want to tell me every detail of their college basketball bracket, I try to hide the dullness behind my eyes and focus on how cute they look exuding pastime passion.
I admit I’ve become more of a fan since living in my own ESPN Zone. I root for the Mets, Knicks, and Giants and now understand the intricacies of stealing bases or boxing out after a rebound. But it’s really watching my boys play that has converted me.
Most days, they happily skip to the car for practice and suit up early for games. They do drills outside to work on a skill they haven’t yet mastered. Eavesdropping on Eli doing the play-by-play of an imaginary game for an hour in the back yard makes my heart melt.
They love sports and I love them for it. I have experienced deep pride in their wins, and learned life lessons from their losses. Playing sports has taught them commitment, bravery and integrity, and witnessing that has been an inspiring experience.
I may never watch (or understand) an entire football game, but I will always want to sit in the room while my boys argue every play. You can find me in the bleachers ready to cheer on my MVP, or console my benchwarmer. Win or lose, I’ll eternally enjoy how they play the game.