When I was about 6 years old, my dad said to me, “One day you will grow up to be tall and look like Wonder Woman. You might even play basketball for NC State!” Growing up in the South, college sports are rooted in your consciousness at a very early age, and I was a Wolfpack girl from the start. Imagine my surprise when I ended up clocking in around 5’4, with blond hair….looking nothing like Wonder Woman and about as athletic as a garden snail. My beautiful mother is tall and statuesque with long brown hair and does look something like Wonder Woman. I can see how a miscalculation was made. I just happened to get the other side of the family’s genes.
Even though I came from a family that loved the NC State Wolfpack, I never played a sport or had much interest in sports. My poor dad…he wanted me to be athletic….but I was having none of it. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a foul and a fumble….but all that was about to change.
After I got married, I found myself blessed with two rambunctious little boys…and a little while later, I found myself holding it all together as a single mom. Our sporting adventures began when the oldest boy turned five. It started with T-ball, then machine-pitch baseball, then we went for basketball, flag football and tried soccer for a season…scored a bunch of goals for the other team with soccer. All of it was new to me.
Sometimes at the games, I felt like the only mom there. Just me and all the super competitive, baseball cap-wearing dads coaching their five year olds and yelling like crazy for them to run faster, keep their eye on the ball, and come ON! I didn’t really know how to behave in that crowd. I loved it when my kids did something good, but mostly I just wanted them to make friends and have fun. Let’s face it, I was never going to be the team mom. Even so, I could see sports were going to be part of my life for a long time, and since I’d do most anything for my kids, I was committed to going to each practice and each game and to cheering them on because they loved it and they deserved my support whether I enjoyed every second of it or not.
As the years went on, I did get more into the sports mom groove. I volunteered to bring snacks, made friends, cheered a lot more and coached my kids on what they could have done better. We played more basketball, baseball, football, tennis and lacrosse. As the boys got older, they started to find their niche. The older one gravitated to lacrosse and the younger one became really great at tennis…even reaching number one in the state at age 9. I went all in as a tennis mom. We traveled around to tournaments, I made sure the kid was well outfitted, accessorized and prepared in every way I could. I cheered for him, coached him and comforted him when he was defeated. Our life revolved around his matches for a few years…and we loved it.
The older kid plays lacrosse in high school and enjoys it, but just as one of his many interests. I’ve been there to cheer him on just like always. This year he’s a senior, and my 12 years of sports with him are about to come to an end. The younger tennis kid has slowed down, too, although we still go to tournaments from time to time. When I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t imagine a day when it would be over…when my boys would not have another sports season coming up! Being a sports mom had become so much a part of my identity!
One thing I’ve learned at this stage of life – now that the boys are practically grown up – is that every moment is precious, even the ones you’re not really enjoying. They do grow up fast, so do your best to spend all the time you can with them. Teach them what it means to be a good teammate. Cheer loudly enough for them so they can hear you! They will never forget it.