Friday, May 12, 2017

Dumping Daddy

Daddy Ball and when Daddy isn’t wanted anymore

Let me start by saying that there is nothing better than seeing a parent volunteer to coach their child in his or her sport.  I worked at the YMCA for many years and youth sports programs can’t run without caring parents who volunteer to teach young people how to kick a ball, throw a spiral or bunt a bat.  However there comes a time when young athletes outgrow their parent and ultimately have to break up. 

For our family the break up happened around age 10.  Let me start the story when Samuel was 3.  Three seemed to be a little young to play sports, but Sam was athletic, and like I said before I worked at the Y, so I was able to sort of get Sam started early.  Our first venture was t-ball.  My village at the time all participated in coaching.  Sam’s Dad stood at first base, my boyfriend at 2nd base, my Dad at 3rd base, and of course me sitting down with the parents behind home plate.   Sam LOVED having all of his favorite people with him.  He would run the bases and high five each person who was coaching that section.  He loved hearing advice from his Dad or my Dad. The games were short (AMEN for T-ball!) and we had a great time.

After we graduated T-ball and ventured into Little League Sam’s dad still volunteered as a coach, but Pop Pop and I stayed in the stands, no comment as to what happened to that boyfriend.  Little league was great because there were more kids to meet, more dads to coach and “real” umpires to work the games.  By around age 8/9 when Sam started pitching we figured out his Dad was a really good pitching coach.  He would work with Sam at home and always helped the other kids out at the fields.  Sam definitely looked up to him for pitching advice and had eyes to be ‘just like Dad’ as far as baseball was concerned.
(Notice boyfriend and ex husband both cut out of this photo)
We joined a travel team and the competition got better, the games got tenser and the coaches’ voices got a lot louder.    What used to be a quick 45 minute game one day a week was turning into six to eight hours at a ball park or an all weekend marathon of baseball.  At this point the boys were getting nervous in the dugout, the coaches were talking strategy and the umpires are getting paid to be at these games.  The tension in the air was slowly getting thicker and I started seeing less smiles on Sam’s face. We were all prepared for more serious baseball and excited to be in a better league. However the tension, yelling, nail biting and fighting with umpires was getting pretty intense.  During one particular game when Sam was on the mound you could hear his Dad criticize each pitch from the dugout. A lightbulb went off for me!  His Daddy as the pitching coach was a bad combination.  I truly don’t remember if we won the game or lost the game. However I do remember driving home in the car.  Sam never cries about sports- ever.  However this particular night in a mix between anger and sadness he blurted out to me that he “didn’t’ want Daddy to coach him anymore.”  He had said the game wasn’t fun anymore and he wanted baseball to be something fun with his dad. 
 I was so proud of Sam and told him he needed to tell his Daddy.   We called his Dad and he told him his wishes. I am not going to lie; it was tough on all of us.  The next day Sam’s Dad came to the game and sat in the stands for the rest of the tournament.  We decided that as much as they both loved to share baseball, the coaching/player relationship was too much for them.   We found a travel team led by coaches who don’t have children on the team and realized that Sam responded really well to their energy and instruction.  Sam still plays Little League and loves all of the volunteer Dads that coach in the system.  His Dad will be a practice coach, pitching coach and work with Sam whenever he needs.  The balance of both has led to a great relationship for him and his Dad.  However, he won’t be calling pitches from the dugout.

Little League Champs 2016!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quit the Pinterest Board, this is the real list for a Sports Parent

I just read the article 10 Things Every Sports Parent Should Have In Their Car from "I Love to Watch you play Site"  and I felt the need to respond.  I suppose extra socks, a sharpie and a hair tie are items that may come in handy while being a parent of a sports kid. However, I am not sure the parent who wrote the article every actually attended a sporting event or lasted at an all-day tournament in 100 degree weather in between thunderstorms and torrential down pours.   Below is a more practical list of Sh** that needs to be put in your car to survive a sporting event.
  1. Food, and a lot of it Not snacks, not diet bars, not dehydrated apples.  Face it, you are going to be at the fields for hours.  Start with a breakfast sandwich in the morning, bring some donuts for the team, add in some chips and dips for the 1st game,  get a sub for the 2nd game and pray you have enough Oreos and popcorn to make it through the championship.  Remember, no one likes the mom who doesn’t share.  Throw in an extra bag of pretzels and peanut bars for others. 
  2. Tanning productsDo I need to remind you that you will be sitting in the sun for hours and hours?  Why waste that time? Apply some SPF and get to working on your tan.  Leave In conditioners also do really well during the double headers.  You don’t want Timmy or Tommy to get burnt so you may want to up your SPF to 50 and share with the team as well.
  3.  Advil.  Some games have really early start times and you may still be feeling the hangover from the night before.  A little Advil and a red bull will help you out for the long day ahead.  If your games are going into overtime, or you are sitting by the loud-ass parent who won’t stop screaming for little Junior, you will definitely need the Advil.  Also, there is always a kid that doesn’t feel well. Pop an Advil for him and you get a few more innings out of him/her.
  4. Cell phone and Cell phone charger.  We all love to watch our children play their sport. But there are plenty of times when the game turns into a train wreck and you just can’t watch anymore.  Having your Netflix nearby is a great way to kill some time and distract you from the game. Remember Aps drain your battery life so be sure to have your portable cell phone charger ready.
  5. Umbrella.  This is one item that truly is useful.  If there isn’t any shade at the field you can pop it open and create shade.  Plus it is always handy when a rain storm comes through.  Another great use for the umbrella is when you are bit too tired you can prop it up and take a wee bit of a nap under it.  If you put on your sunglasses and prop your feet against the fence you will have a nice siesta.
  6.  Cooler with ice.  While it is important to keep your child’s drink cold for game day, it is also important to have cold beverages for the parents.  The games are long and proper hydration is key. I particularly enjoy a sparkly beverage served over ice during a double header.  Some dads prefer a cold brew.  What better way to provide a chilled experience then an ice chest in the trunk?
  7.  Tervis Tumbler or Yeti Cup. See above.  The hot summer days melt your ice really quickly and a water downed drink is no fun at all.  Pack an extra cup or two so you can enjoy your beverages with friends.
  8.  Febreeze.  There is absolutely no way to get the stink and stank out of your child’s uniform without a deep clean in the washer machine. However, a large dose of Febreeze will help make your drive home more enjoyable.  For road trip games you may want to pack Lysol and Febreeze and kill the smell with a one –two punch.
  9.  Cash. No matter how much food, water, bug spray, sunblock, candy, chips, etc. you pack your athlete is going to want something.  And in the want something way that is like “mom, I just must have this or I will die without it” way.  To make matters worse, most of these vendors are cash only.  Save yourself the headache and say yes to that most important thing and take cash with you.
  10. Siblings. Yes, it is true that you can’t store the siblings in the car during the games.  However, it is a scientific fact that no one sibling can sit still and pay attention to an entire game. Do yourself a favor and bring more than one of your kids to the field, or invite a playmate to spend the day. Kids are super annoying when they are bored, so better to keep them busy with a friend or two.