The last at bat, of the last game of the season. I couldn’t be more excited. Not because I love standing in 100 degree heat, covered in dirt that will never come out of my clothes. I am excited because for the last four months my anxiety has been like 100 out of 10. I am an oversensitive, overprotective sports mom. Words you wouldn’t expect in the same sentence, I know. This is something I have dealt with for the last three years, and probably will for twenty more.
Why so Serious?
I am that parent that cringes every time my son goes up to bat or kick (he’s a two sport child, at five!). We all want them to do their very best, every time. I know he is not perfect. He is so young the likelihood of him being “good” at anything is slim. When he started playing sports I was fine. I was so excited for him. He needed to get out and burn off some of that energy! He picked his sport, and we were both having a blast!
THEN, other parents happened. Parents who literally think their child is in the major leagues. The parent that has been TRAINING their child since they were able to walk. Their intensity not only ruined sports for my son, they ruined it for me.
Baseball (or rather t-ball at my son’s age) … don’t even get me started. When did it become more about winning than having fun? My child is a flower picker. He gets yelled at every time. They tell him to take the sport seriously. He’s only five years old. Have I mentioned that?
We had previously tried soccer, but he would always get told to stop playing in the dirt. He’s also a dirt kicker. So here we are, two sports in and unable to find anything really positive about either.
When did children’s sports become so serious? Is this a regional thing? I have nothing but fond memories of playing sports when I was the one on the field. I remember my coaches screaming positively. There was a time when you didn’t spend every night of the week on the field. Sports was an extracurricular activity, not a career.
When we started having kids, my husband and I decided our children would play sports. Not because of our need, or want, for sports stars. We wanted them to get involved in something to build confidence. Sports are supposed to help a child learn to be part of a team. They are supposed to teach discipline.
What sports should NOT be is a place where my child learns there is no fun involved. It shouldn’t be stressful or create anxiety at such a young age. My son has now developed stage fright. He hates going up to bat because he doesn’t want to miss hitting the ball. He hears the coach’s negative remarks and it affects him.
Will he eventually have to deal with all of this negativity at an older age? Yes and that is fine with me. I am not trying to tell my child that the world is all gumdrops and unicorns. However, at five years old my child has started disliking organized sports and there is something very wrong with that. He should be skipping his cute little self out to that batters box. Not crying about the possibility of embarrassment.
How I will overcome
I wasn’t always this way. When I had my first child I became a protector of all things cub. I immediately became overprotective, something I said I would never be. I also became highly sensitive to anything that involved my child.
What I need to do is turn this into a teachable moment. The oversensitive, overprotective mom in me wants to just take him out of everything so he doesn’t have to deal with it all. But he does need to learn that life can be tough. I need to prepare him for what’s out there.
My role needs to be that of someone he can always talk to, whether to vent or talk about how to handle situations life throws his way. He will always have Mama as his loudest cheerleader in those stands … both on and off the field. Mama will always have his back, regardless of whether or not organized sports are in his future.