When we got pregnant with our twins, my husband and I often daydreamed about the activities they’d do one day. Long before we knew their genders, we laughed about dance classes, swimming, music, and sports. I grew up in a musical family and went to dance class starting at age 3, but sports were just never my “thing.” My brother played sports and is now a college football coach, but I never paid too close attention to what was actually happening on the field. My husband, on the other hand, comes from a family of athletes. His mom coached girls’ softball before her girls were even old enough to play. Hang out with his dad long enough and he’ll tell you how he played against Terry Bradshaw in college!
That fateful day when we found out we were having boys, I knew I had many days at the ballpark, field, court, and wherever else sports are played, would come. I daydreamed about bringing snacks to little league and putting a basketball goal in our driveway, like my brother had. My dad is a HUGE baseball fan and had his eyes on baseball before my husband and I were even married. As a matter of fact, when we were dating and an engagement was on the horizon, my dad jokingly asked if my husband had any lefties in his family. “You’re thinking of a left handed pitcher in the future, aren’t you? Well, actually, my dad is left handed!” I always say that sealed the deal. (Although I’ve got two righties!)
I never put too much thought into the other kids, though.
They started out playing YMCA sports for a year, but then it was time to move on to our local recreation league. We started with baseball, and they were in love. This was my first time really experiencing practices and games. We’ve all heard the stories about sports moms, so I was so excited to hear the parents cheering for all the kids on the team, and encouraging everyone. We all learned everyone’s names and cheered our little ones on.
Then, it was time for our first game. It was coach pitch, so kids could strike out after six pitches. Naturally, some kids could handle it and others cried, but EVERY parent cheered for EVERY kid out there – on both teams. It didn’t matter that they were our “opponents.”
At the first game of every sport and season, I find myself saying “It’s like they’re ALL our little boys out there!” to another mom.
At the end of the day, they are children, and we’re here for them. They’re here to have fun, get some exercise, learn some discipline, and learn how to be on a team. Maybe they’ll hit a grand slam, or maybe they won’t hit a single ball. Maybe they’re always “baseball ready,” or maybe they’re more concerned with the dragonfly buzzing around second base. Sure, one day we may have to decide if we’re going to focus on one sport and get more serious about it but for now, it just needs to be FUN. I spoke to another mom whose older son is getting very seriously into baseball, and her younger son couldn’t care less (he’s precious out there!). She told me she recently got a funny look when cheering for a boy on her older son’s opposing team. But the reality is, her son has been playing baseball for seven years and they’ve ALL played on the same team at one point or another, so it was just natural. We’re seeing that now ourselves – we’re playing against dear friends, neighbors, old teammates, old classmates, and friends’ kids. For me, I think it’s helping to teach sportsmanship, to acknowledge the talents of others, and encourage everyone.
Part of the fun for me comes back to daydreaming. Daydreaming that maybe one day they’ll get to go to Cooperstown, or that I’ll get to be one of the moms whose son ends up at the Little League World Series. Or maybe, my sons will not want to play sports as they get older. That’s okay with me, the memories we already have are priceless.
But in the meantime, at our park, we cheer for ALL the kids!