As practice is gearing up for the upcoming season of youth football, I want to give moms (new and old to the sports world) some tips or key to survival.
Tip 1. “Practice? We’re talking about Practice?” Yesssss, practice. You know the weekly obligation that ties up your Monday-Friday evening for several hours. Be sure your child attends practice. If transportation is an issue, connect with another mom on the team that LIVES near you. Don’t expect the family that lives in Waldorf to take your child home to Laurel. And don’t think the coach wants to spend his evenings playing Uber. Will he yes, but does he want to, no. Also, make sure your budding athlete has on the proper equipment (cleats, socks, pads, etc). There are no spare anythings, “can he borrow …” none of that.
Tip 2. Get to know your Team Mom. Team Mom is the Coach’s liaison because quite frankly “he don’t want to talk to no parents.” If you need a practice schedule, game schedule, fundraising information, equipment questions, coordinate rides, the team mom is your first line of contact. 9 out of 10 times she has more patience than the coaching staff, so utilize her. Please note, Team Mom is not the source of why your child isn’t getting in the game, nor is she on the playing time committee. Don’t bother her with the nonsense. Logistics only.
Tip 3. Support ALL the kids. There will always be somebody better than your kid. Unless your kid is THE star of the team. LOL. But really, there will always be somebody better. Don’t compare your child to them, and don’t place those expectations on your child. Kids have various backgrounds of sports experience and exposure. The flip side is to make sure your child is 100% involved. Quitting because kids are better is never an excuse, push them to try, try, and try again. And most importantly, cheer for them all. They all need and deserve encouragement, even Mr. Super Star.
Tip 4. Snack Day. When it’s your turn to bring snacks, SHOW UP, with something. If your child eats organic or healthy snacks, bring that for YOUR child, and the junk for everybody else’s child. They’re not interested in eating a Polly o’String cheese after running their little hearts out. They wants Hot Fries, Cool Ranch Doritos, and something cold to drink. Also, bring FRESH snacks. Don’t go digging in Granny’s pantry for that chip bag from Easter.
Tip 5. Avoid cliques. Cliques are cool until Homecoming or something comes around that requires everybody’s input. You will see the Petty Betty’s come out of their holes, only to have someone “who’s too old for the games” run them back in their hole. Just steer clear of messy people.
Tip 6. Messy People. When you are involved in things that are competitive in nature, the not so nice side can come out of people. Some people just like to be in shit, simply put. They like gossiping, meddling, and do everything under the sun to get on somebody nerves. Just keep it moving AWAY from them. These people and their cliques usually self-destruct anyway before the season ends, so just sit back and wait for the BOOM.
Tip 7. Realization. Realize that not everyone understands your sports mom life. Your social life is put on hold, your evenings are definitely tied up, and weekends what’s that? But, honestly, you don’t think there is any place you’d rather be. Also realize, that everyone you invite isn’t going to make every game. Heck, some people might not make any games. And who cares? I have met some really great people on the sidelines, in the stands, at practice in the evenings. Their children have become great friends with mine. We stay connected even in the off season. Think of it as expanding the village your child has in their life. Don’t put your Cousin Karen on the Do Not Call list just cus she hasn’t seen Marco run 80 yards. Different strokes for different folks. You are your child’s BIGGEST and sometimes ONLY FAN CLUB. When Marco makes the NFL, THENNNN you put Cousin Karen on the Do Not Call List.
Tip 8. Be Kind. This is for the kids, remember, its about the kids. Sooo watch your damn mouth. No seriously. When it comes to other peoples kids, and their talents, feelings get real thin. While you might be annoyed about somebody else’s child performing or not performing, their mama might not be feeling the same way. Now I’m not saying don’t enjoy the moment, because sports are about yelling and all that. Keep it kind, be considerate, save your real thoughts til you get in your car … or have a helluva quick right hand is pretty much all I can say. Your kids are a reflection of you. If you’re always on the sideline complaining about somebody else or in the car asking why so and so always getting playing time, why would they (your child) put in the effort to dominate?? Be an encourager, not a complainer.
Tip 9. Support the sport. Yes, our personal schedules sometimes are hard to accommodate a sports life, but YOU signed up your child. Be there when you can or send a family representative. Somebody on that sideline needs to be cheering for YOUR child. Wear your blinged out shirts and bring your colorful posters. All of that is highly encouraged. If you have the connect on the blinged out shirts or glitter hats, share the information. We are all on the same side of the ball. 🙂
Last but not least, Tip 10.
None of this matters if your child is not a STUDENT FIRST, athlete last. Poor grades should never be rewarded with extracurricular activities. A student athlete has to be able to balance education and athletics. No high school or college coach wants a dummy that’s only good at being fast on his feet.