Tag Archives: kids and sports

When Crying in Baseball’s Okay

My three boys (ages 6, 9 and 12) are all playing baseball and the older two are also playing travel soccer, which translates to a minimum of 5 games a weekend. (I decided I won’t spend another summer in the bleachers, hunched over in back pain so I’m investing in stadium chairs. Check them out here.)

I often wonder how a nice city girl who spent childhood weekends shopping or in an apartment watching “American Bandstand” and classic movies got into this family of jocks.

But here I am.

I have mostly embraced this odd predicament and discovered many benefits of living a sporting life. We attend most games as a family so our time on the weekends is shared, instead of running in a million directions. We are spending time outside so we’re getting fresh air and exercise.  We have a community of friends whose kids are also involved in sports so the games are very social.

More importantly my boys — and Wilson– love playing, watching, and discussing sports so I decided long ago, instead of beating my head against a wall, I would join ’em.

I wanted to share something I noticed this weekend at my 9-year-old son, Aden’s baseball game. His team was playing against a team that included some of his closest friends so there was a lot riding on the outcome. Our team was up 3-2  at the top of last inning. The opposing team had 2 outs and 2 strikes so one more strike and we would have won the game. But the teenaged ump made a bad call and the other team walked and then rallied to score 5 runs and pull ahead. Despite their best efforts– our boys loaded the bases in a nail-biting ending– it came down to two outs and two strikes before our last kid swung and missed to lose the game 7- 3.

Who knows if it was the despair over the call, losing to their friends, or just a general unraveling, but at least four of the kids came off the field in tears. I immediately felt sad and helpless watching them throw their mitts in the dugout dirt with disgust. They stomped their little cleats and hung their capped heads as if their whole world was falling apart.

In the past,  I would silently condemn the game that breaks my son’s heart in two. No one wants to see their kid suffering, especially over a game that has so little significance.

But Saturday I had an epiphany.  As I looked around, I noticed that there were several players who were smiling, drinking Gatorade, and goofing around. Those kids shook off the loss as soon as they exited the field.  And for the first time, I felt sorry for them instead of fretting over my little jock, wiping tears with his jersey.

Aden was crying because he wanted to win. He’s competitive and passionate about whatever sport he’s playing. Do I wish he didn’t get so upset about losing? Absolutely.

But this weekend I realized I’d rather he care enough to cry than not care at all.

Fasten Your Laces for Kids Spring Sports Season

KIds Spring Sports Begin: Aden (left) on soccer field

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.

Jacob taking a swing

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.

Eli dribbling down the soccer field

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.

The boys in their jerseys at the Knicks game