Sunday, June 4, 2017

Participation This...

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning and all I wanted to do was hop in my car to get to my daugther's softball tourney three hours down the road. But the hubby and I happened to have another kid that is our caboose and only four years old. We've done our best to juggle so that she doesn't miss her favorite hour of every week- soccer. I mean- I guess you can call it soccer- There is a ball and a couple nets but I'm not sure "soccer" is ever really played eventhough it's the cutest thing ever. This was our last session of the season and being the procrastinator I am, I had signed up for snack on the very.last.day and had to hand it out... and then I spied the coach giving out medals to every kid. Shoot me- it was the one day this Mama wanted to peace out fast.

I didn't. And I'm so glad I stayed and got that medal. It hasn't been taken off since and our little caboose seriously must have told every stranger from here to Richmond about her medal. And yes, it's that cute every time. It started having me question the whole "participation medal" debate all weekend. And I get it-she's four, so who cares, but whatever.

We live in a world where youth sports are crazy town. And yep, I'm that mom that is ultra competitive. We get it, some think we are the crazy ones- practices all the time, private lessons, hotels for ten year old tourneys that really don't mean a thing.  My own family lets me know it. And if you've been a fly on the wall, you may have heard my hubby and I ranting that this whole participation trophy thing is crap.

Ya see, we live in a Ricky Bobby world- where "If you ain't first, you're last." Errybody's chasing that next title and wanting to be the best. NFL athletes are yanking ribbons from their kids and saying expectations need to be higher. Recently even my boy Bryce- and I do love ya Bryce- said, "Oh, it’s OK you guys lost,’ but no, Johnny, no. No participation trophies, OK? First place only.”

Fast forward to why I'm blabbing away on my soap box... Today, that same older daughter that I was rushing off to see this weekend played her butt off with her team. They came up short and took second place in their tournament. And guess what happened. None of us- except the team mom that takes pictures (Thank goodness for her) rushed the field with our iPhones and gadgets to capture this moment. Instead, we stood on the side in moods kind of like, "What the hell was that?"  "Our team is so much better than that." Our expectations certainly aren't to go out and beat ourselves by making errors and not hitting the ball. We train for this and gave up a weekend to see that just go down.

And that, that right there is what is wrong with youth sports. The problem isn't giving second place trophies and rewarding those that aren't the best. Look at these girls- they worked hard for this- and those beautiful, proud smiles are begging for cameras.

From here on out, I promise that I will be on that field clicking away. I will be proud if you finish 1st or 21st. You girls rock. Don't ever stop aiming for the top baby girl, and don't ever, ever hang that head. You taught me something today- That maybe those right there on the field in front of us matter more than anyone's opinion. Second is super, and you, my Glory girls, are simply badass.

-Signed, one proud Mama

Sunday, May 7, 2017

This is us...

It's past my bedtime, I'm tired, and I just had a McDonald's extra value meal that was soooo not on my low carb diet I started this morning, and yet after a day that began by loading up the car for the fields at 5:30am, here I sit, writing- Because I'm still on a high from such a GLORYous win. Ya see, my daughter's 10U softball team, GLORY, brought home a championship.

That's right, I just said 10U championship. And I get it, in reality hundreds of thousands of kids were crowned champions across the country today at this tournament, that competition, and this invitational. Shirts were bought by millions to commemorate the day, parents whooped and hollered like it was the Superbowl, and Facebook was cluttered with statuses of kids holding trophies. And I'm one of those parents that did almost all of that and then some- because I've come to terms with it- We are a crazy, psycho, sports loving family. And I love it.

Now let's get things straight. I am well aware that my kids are not the next Bryce Harper or Jenny Finch. And I know that if I had to bet on it- my kids will follow in my awesome footsteps and their sports careers will end just like mine did at high school. I mean, I'm just like my parents and am living my life spending every last dime on private lessons and hotels for tourneys and trust me- I'm not doing it because I think we're going somewhere with this and need a sports agent in our future.

What many don't realize is, for some, youth sports goes way beyond being trophy chasers. And those of us that brag and are over the top about our kids are just proud because of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

It's days like today that teach our kids that winning is sweet. And days like last weekend that teach our kids that many times in life, it's okay to go home a loser. Life isn't always about winning. In fact, it goes way beyond the scoreboard.

What life is about is being happy. Happy to me is seeing my kids crammed in a car singing and smiling with teammates. Happy is seeing our team taking over the hotel pool and acting fools... while the adults secretly try and sneak alcoholic drinks in the hotel lobby in Chick-Fil-A cups. Happy is having a family beyond your family... that counts down to rap battles at away tournaments. Happy is hearing girls on the fence yelling cheers at the top of their lungs to rally their teammates. Happy is seeing younger siblings on the sideline creating the oddest games to pass the time. Happy is having my kids make friends from different schools that all share the love of the game. Happy is being able to throw a coach's name into a fight with my kids and saying, "If you don't start having a better attitude, we're going to have a talk with Coach So and So," because my kids have learned to respect and look up to authority figures like no other- maybe just not Mom. :)

Being psycho sports parents isn't as crazy as it sounds. Sure, I check the weather on a Monday for next weekend's games. Sure, I plug in teams on Gamechanger and look to see how area kids are doing. And I know this all sounds crazy to some, but if you don't get it, you don't get it...and if you do, well then, I can bet you are like me. It's the little things in life that matter- Like when you find a spic and span Don's John, when you log in to sign up genius first and can sign up for something easy to bring to the field, or when you question if the on the go running all around is worth it... only to see your kids wear their sports jerseys to school 2 times a week- despite the fact that you have bought them cute clothes... but you don't throw a fit because you realize they wear their team gear because, like their parents, they are proud to be a part of something. Something positive. Something fun. Something rewarding. And something memorable.

We have a game tomorrow, Wednesday, and two on Saturday. And I love it. I'll struggle with finding time to make dinner and when to eat it, and I can assure that one of those nights dinner will be hot dogs from the good ole'  concession stand. And I can also tell you that I'm pretty sure I'll be like my mom... One day, I'll have a glimmer in my eye when I die laughing telling "remember when" stories of different teams and things that happened on these crazy weekends.... Years from now, when I hear "We've got Ice" or "Slurpees for all", my heart will fill with joy. And I bet I'll one day be going to every adult league game that my kids play in cheering like high class white trash even when it means nothing. But for now, these weekends where you feel like ya won the best championship ever.. These are the days to hold onto, because I know they will not last forever.