Saturday, November 23, 2013


I'll just start out by saying I'm competitive. It's in my blood: I'm 1/4 Italian...(is that enough proof?)... also my dad rode motorcycles and broke both wrists (one, then the other a week later). So it's not really my fault. I have lots and lots of stories about my own competitive nature to share another time....the problem is that Ben is competitive too. His is sports induced. Let's just say that at our first pre-marriage counseling session the pastor told us that competitiveness would ruin our marriage if we weren't very, very careful. So it's not like it was something that we "hid" very well. We've managed for 11.5 years with only some damage.

Anyway, now our kids play sports. That's probably all I have to say and you know where this post is going. It's just that I must admit something...  I think I'm "that" parent. I kinda have a loud, squeaky voice and I don't want to be the coach, but I still have some input to give. Which I give only to my kids, not to others. Well, except, occasionally the refs. OH, the refs. Really, just make sure you know the game before you take the job. That is all.

So poor Ben, while he keeps his closet competition all stuffed into his brain, I'm the one who lets it all out through my loud, squeaky air hole. And 'Closet Boy' keeps asking me if I think that a) the kids can hear me? and b) is what I am saying really helping? I'm not sure I ever have a good answer and it usually just makes me want to yell a little louder. I'm convinced that one day, Alena will jog off the field and tell me, "Mom, I heard you yell, 'GO TOWARDS the ball,' and so I did it, and that's why I scored that goal today! Thanks mom!"

Or perhaps there will be a day that Caleb will be like, "Mom! I'm so proud you yelled at that ref and all my friends heard! Thanks, you really got him on that one and did you see him change the call, right on the spot, because of you? Awesome, thanks mom!"

Or maybe, just maybe, Nathan will one day be like, "Mom, I missed your loud squeaky voice at the game today...and so did all the other parents. They were all asking me where you were. Thanks mom for being so loud."

I was really hoping these things would happen...

But then....

Last week after an indoor soccer game I was doing a little after-game instruction coaching. I was blabbing along, the child politely nodding her sweet/sweaty head at me and trying to visualize what I was talking about, and I turned around to see if she was really 'getting it' and I saw..... her eyes. Oh, her ever-telling, honest, big brown eyes. Her eyes could not lie, they were not understanding the "coaching" at all, in fact, they were.....sad. And my heart broke. Right there in the van. And I realized all she really needed was a biggest fan. Someone who yells, all loud and squeaky, about how hard she worked and how fast she was and how she'll get that goal she's been practicing for soon! She wanted to hear that I love coming to her games and watching her... and perhaps that I was proud she was actually PLAYING soccer at the age of six, something I for sure didn't do and still made the Varsity team in high school (no looking back at old SPHS records ok, you can make the team and not make a goal).

I realized I want to be my kids' BIGGEST, LOUDEST cheerleader. I was getting confused with all that competitive juice flowing through my veins. I'll leave the coaching to practice time with the real coach. And also to my husband (aka 'Closet Boy'), who coaches as a profession. He clearly does a much better job at keeping his own emotion in check. And while he still wants our kids to get better and go for the win, he certainly does not want to crush their little spirits! And neither do I. There's a line on the "parenting field" that I want to learn how to "play fair" - To teach and encourage my kids, not exasperate or spoil. 

So...I was better this week. I still have lots to work on, but this week I sat with the other moms, tried not to pound on the glass at the indoor field, and I only joked about chanting, "Fight, fight, fight" - like at the hockey games - when the one girl elbowed my daughter. After the game sweet girl and I talked about what she wanted to-- which happened to be nothing related to soccer and everything related to the "awesome" snack she got. I still had a lot of fun at the game and my little soccer star was much more relaxed <SURPRISE> . I have two more games to practice my new behavior and then we are on to basketball and wrestling... which I'm sure will be a totally new learning curve!

Still learning how to play this life game of parenting! ~ Ms. Simplicity

1 comment:

  1. I'm NOT very competitive, but I sure thought about my sister's family as I read this. They were all REALLY competitive...except her. Her husband was the "COACH" all the time, and not always in a good way. So my sister decided to be the cheerleader. The big joke when asked what she thought of their games, was she always said, "You looked great in your uniform!" and really meant it! I think you'll be just as good a cheerleader as you are a mom...and I think you're a darn good mom!