Being a mom of a child who plays sports, is much more than practices, games, snacks and dirty uniforms. We are first and foremost, a supporter! I will forever be my son’s biggest fan – he can twirl in a rainbow tutu, at noon, in the middle of Times Square and I would scream with pride!! Okay, maybe that is a little much – but you get my point.
My son can play baseball, he can hit, catch, and slide with the best of them. Some days he makes great plays, and some days, well, some days – he doesn’t. Either day, the best part of the game, is supporting my player, my son. All I ask is for him to do his best. His best is good enough for me, and no one else out there matters. Besides, at this age there aren’t any scouts in the bleachers – so who freaking cares?!?
My son was not raised to be the best, on purpose! He was and is still raised with the goal to do HIS best, not my best, or the coaches best, his. My desire for my son is wanting him to have fun, to enjoy the game, and to learn that sometimes in life you get a home run, and sometimes you strikeout – how you handle that is what makes the player!
Any kid can swing a bat, and catch a ball – that is not what baseball is about, at least not to me. My son spends hours at practice, he listens to his coach, and plays his best like every other player. But, what some parents forget is that baseball players aren’t made on the diamond alone, that diamond follows us home. It is the coaches job to mold the player on the field, and the parents job to mold the boy off the field.
Our boys needs to know that one bad play, one strikeout, or missed catch, doesn’t make him the worst, and that a one home run doesn’t make him the best! So many parents forget the importance of building the foundation of the child, before the purpose of life. The errors in life today, are lessons for tomorrow – that is what builds character in our boys, and makes them better players.
We need to remind our children that games aren’t won or lost by one player, they aren’t won or lost because one child is better than another, and no child on a team – makes or breaks the team, period! If that were the case, the game would not have teams, positions, or a batting order. It would be golf, or tennis…and be boring!
We as parents need to ensure that our kids respect and understand the importance of a team and their coach. Being part of a team means rooting for each other, backing each other and supporting each other. When someone misses a hit, you don’t encourage your child to tell them they suck – you encourage them to say “nice try buddy, you will get it next time” and to give a high five or smack on the butt! Just make sure they know not all sports welcome the smack on the butt!
It our job to show our children how to respect their coach as well. This is not done by coaching from the stands, yelling at the coach for making the choice to send or hold the runner. It isn’t done by yelling at your child about what mistake he made, or by going to the dugout to rip them sideways for mistakes either. I wish parents stopped and thought about being nine and ten years old, standing in a batters box, or even in the outfield, and what goes through their minds at that time, especially if they just messed up. They are already so far into their own heads, doubting themselves, then they hear their coach critiquing them – and now you want to chime in? Why?! You are the person that is supposed to make them feel better – not worse! A strikeout or missed catch – is not the end of the world, a lost game is not the end of the world. However, a child with zero confidence is.
My point here is that sometimes we get so carried away with winning and the score – that we forget what’s really important. Next year it won’t matter what the score was, or which team beat who – but the character of the player, the confidence of the player and those who supported the player will matter. You never hear a kid thanking a coach or parent for making him a winner – he thanks them for hours of practice, for showing the love of the game, and for believing in him – when he didn’t believe in himself.