It’s baseball season and I’m in sports mom mode, sitting in the bleachers at our Little League field, scrolling through my phone during practice, thankful the wifi works for a change.
Meanwhile, the coach shouts instructions to a group of 9-year-olds doing drills on the field. My ears perk up when I hear him call my son’s name.
“There you go, Alex! You hit better when you keep your feet still! Pretend those feet are made of lead!”
I watch my son hit a few times. Yep, when he gets happy feet in the batter’s box, he doesn’t make contact. I file “feet of lead” away as a coaching phrase to use in the future.
See, I’m not just a sports mom. I’m also a big sports fan, and I can talk to my kid in the language he knows best – the language of sports.
Born to Be a Sports Mom
Sports rule in my family. My Ohio-born mother taught her children that the two things that mattered most in life are family and football. I grew up sitting by her side, watching her beloved Buckeyes playing on TV. Later, when my brother played high school football, she beamed with pride as she cheered him on from the bleachers. No doubt she was the original sports mom.
So naturally, when I gave birth to a son, my own sports mom bought her grandson a duffel bag full of sporting equipment. Before he could even sit up, that boy owned a football, a basketball, a couple of baseballs, and a pack of golf balls.
Thus did she pass the mantle of sports mom on to me.
All Sports, All the Time
Back at baseball practice, I keep an eye on the Tampa Bay Rays game so I can fill my son in later. When we get home, we’ll turn on the TV and catch an inning or two before bedtime. Then tomorrow morning brings a quick check of the iPad to see what happened in the NBA playoffs as he heads off to school.
That routine repeats itself daily, the sports he follows changing with the seasons. In fact, if someone asks my son’s favorite sport, I answer “Whichever one is in season.” And he dreams of playing literally all of them. I can’t tell you how many times he’s belted a walk-off home run to win the World Series in our living room, or the Super Bowl-clinching touchdowns he’s caught. Likewise, during the winter Olympics, he devised an elaborate curling court in the kitchen and then proceeded to ski-jump off the recliner.
Clearly, this child has found his passion.
Living That Sports Mom Life
And so I sit on my seat cushion in the bleachers at a Little League practice. Or in a lawn chair on the sidelines at a flag football game. Or in a gym at basketball. We go wherever the games take us.
Oftentimes, we eat on the run. I sip on a soda and then cheer at the top of my lungs when he gets a hit and spins his little legs running to first base. I keep score for the other parents in the stands because our scoreboard almost never works. If it’s my turn for snacks, I buy 14 bananas, three boxes of granola bars and a case of juice boxes and await the onslaught of 9-year-olds to tear through the stash. That’s a primary sports mom duty.
Afterward, I encourage and praise him, and try to teach him. Get that elbow up next time. Don’t move your feet. Also be humble in victory, resilient in defeat.
Some days are fast-paced and hectic. Others, like these long practices, are a bit of a slog. But I’m here for this boy as he works on his dream. We went through so much to have him, and I want to be present for all of these moments. I’m a sports mom, and I love every minute.