Friday, January 4, 2013

Benchwarmer Mother

(This article originally appeared in the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting series)

Most of the human race can tell what season it is based on the calendar or even the temperature outside. In our home the seasons are dictated differently. Seasons are marked by what sports equipment can be found in the back of my husband's truck. Instead of spring, summer, autumn and winter we have baseball, soccer, football and basketball season.

I'm not kidding.

The older the kids get the more intense the teams and competition become. This is a problem for me as I am not a particularly competitive individual. To me, a game is fun if it was entertaining, thrilling and/or hard fought, not because our team was victorious. This is a problem for the rest of my family. After a game, they want to revisit every play and all I have to contribute to the conversation is how I much liked the color of the visiting team's uniform or if the popcorn at the concession stand was fresh.

Also I tend to people watch. This means I'm quite frequently distracted. And it's not just at games; I love to people watch everywhere. I'd be content with a smoothie and a bench at the mall or sitting at an airport. I find people fascinating. Of course the whole point in attending games is to watch my own children, but I can't help it. My eyes tend to wander.

Unfortunately for me that means I often miss the big moments. While the crowd roars and cheers chances are I've missed the big play on the field. I would cheer, and do cheer, when I'm engaged in the game but the sad truth is that it's not uncommon for me to be two plays behind whatever is happening. So I do what every other woman in my shoes do; I fake it! Chances are I missed the play but if the crowd carries on long enough I'll join in and cheer or whistle right along with them. Which is all well and good until someone asks me what just happened.

And people ask me a lot. Or at least they used to until word got out that I really don't know that much about any particular game. You think I would by now with thirteen years of games under my belt. People assume I understand the game because I'm a coach's wife or because my kids are on, and have been on, the team since well, forever. But the truth is I'm sadly under informed. Don't feel bad for me, I'm okay with it. I mean, I get the jest of soccer (make a goal), football (touchdowns) and basketball (free throws), just don't ask me about off sides, false starts and personal fouls. Of these I am blissfully ignorant.

Now before you get frustrated with me you should know that I tried to learn the rules of the games. For years I faithfully asked my boys what certain calls mean or I'll lean into my highly engaged, completely competitive husband and ask why the whistle blew but usually my timing is off and I never seem to get a complete answer. I guess it is hard to explain a game while engaged in a game. So I remain quite uneducated.

What I'm not okay with is the bleacher butt I'm developing. At first it was mildly humorous how many evenings we sat on various bleachers but now that my back is violently disagreeing with our sports schedule it's less humorous and quite a bit painful.

Wouldn't it be nice if a coupon for a complimentary chiropractic visit be attached to each program you receive at the admission table? I could sit for three hours, people watch and eat popcorn and then head out for an adjustment afterward. Now that I could get into! In fact, I'm sure my complaining would drop drastically if such were the case.

Once my husband suggested that we keep a record of all the admission fees we pay over the years. He thought it would be interesting to find out how much money five kids were going to cost us over time. I thought that was a crazy idea. Rather than be impressed with our commitment and investment in programs like biddyball, I think knowing what we spent would instead instigate a nervous breakdown on my behalf. I mean since my kids probably aren't going to turn out to be professional ball players, I mean they might, but the chances are pretty slim that they won't - therefore I'm really not receiving any investment on my return. I'd be better off socking away the $5.00 three nights a week under my mattress.

But hey, at least my kids will have healthy self-esteem issues since their mother and father followed them around the tristate area and applauded their every point/goal/basket/homerun. That's worth something, right?

That's why I keep going. Despite my lack of interest, competitive spirit and the ongoing blur of bleachers, fields and gymnasiums my kids are making great memories. While I people watch they are learning to get along with others and the value of team work. While I sit and munch on concession stand food they are exercising and developing healthy bodies. So sure, I admit spectating sports is one of my least favorite activites but because those are my kids I'll continue to be their biggest fan. Or I'll do a darn good job pretending to be. Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so, that's why!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. Very much enjoyed this story! This year is the first year experience with the basketball benchwarming!But thought only the people watching thing was a Denison thing called the Denison stare!:) I love your stories ,they make me feel so human. christina denison


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