That girl missing a tooth or two in the picture above? That’s me. As a kid, I played soccer every chance that I got. Sometimes, I’d play in a uniform – like here – while other times, I’d play in whatever I was wearing at the time (usually a dress and Mary Janes). I.loved.soccer.
When I was in the 4th grade, I got smacked with a soccer ball right in the face. It broke my glasses. My mom pulled my soccer card, declaring that it was time for me to stop. Young ladies, I was told, didn’t play sports. At least not the kind that could result in them getting hurt. Young ladies played volleyball or they cheered.
As it turned out, cheerleading wasn’t my thing so I tried out for the volleyball. I played two years in high school before I transferred to a school that didn’t have a volleyball team. That was the end of my sports career – until college. In college, I played intramurals. I was terrible but it was fun. And then I tried my hand at archery: even more terrible but also fun.
After graduate school, I gained weight. A lot of weight. And I was miserable. So I started walking with friends to try to ease a little exercise into my busy routine. One by one, my friends’ schedules caught up with them and they started backing out of our early morning walks. One morning, it was just me standing at the corner at 6:00 am. I figured I’d walk by myself. To make it go by a little faster, I started to run. And then I stopped: I couldn’t even manage a mile. That’s when my competitive spirit kicked in. I promised myself that I would keep running until I could hit that mile. And then it was the second mile. Eventually, I started running races… Sixty pounds lighter, I finished the Broad Street Run (10 miles) in a respectable time. Next on my plate were two half-marathons (no, I’ve never completed a full marathon but it’s on my list).
You see, I like sports and I like competition. So imagine my surprise when my kiddos showed zero interest in tee ball. All three. Zip. Zero. And none of them raced to sign up for basketball. Then my oldest flatly declared that soccer was not her thing. She also hated running and made me promise not to make her have to finish a flawed experiment in cross country.
It took me awhile to figure out that there is a whole world of sports out there – and each kid has to find their own “thing” which may not be exactly what I thought they might end up doing. And that’s okay. Navigating the whole scene, however, has not been easy. This website is my half cautionary/half reflective tale of being a parent in a youth sports obsessed world.
Just a note: I’m not raising a little Tiger. Or a little Serena. I’m not even raising a little Mike Glennon. My kids aren’t going pro in any sport (no matter what my son might tell you). So if you’re here to glean the secrets of becoming a successful sports mom, you’re not in the right spot. I’m just trying to get through the next season without anyone getting hurt – and that includes me.