I’ve officially become the parent I swore I’d never become.
You know the kind. The one who hoots and hollers just a little too loud at games. The one who owns an embarrassing amount of spirit gear, homemade and otherwise. The one who spends hours on end in the car, all in the name of sports.
As a marathon runner, I consider myself a sporty person, yet I had no clue what I was in for when I became a sports parent. But, here I am, and I’m not alone. In fact, along the way I’ve discovered a few things I think many of my fellow sports parents can also relate to.
1. Turns out, not everything they do is entertaining.
Have you ever watched a soccer match between two teams of 5-year-olds? If so, you feel my pain. I love all my children equally-I really do-but given the choice between watching my youngest son run around a soccer field in circles and watching my 10-year-old daughter compete in a tournament for her travel soccer team, I’m going to pick my daughter every time.
2. It costs how much?!
I nearly fell over when I saw the bill for my daughter’s first season of travel soccer. Sure, some sports are expensive, but when I looked at the final receipt I had to wonder, “Are these uniforms woven together with 14K gold thread?”
3. There’s always one parent crazier than you.
At least, I hope there is. Although, I did find myself practicing my baseball swing in the bleachers the other day, drawing questionable stares from more than a few other parents. Hey, I was just making sure I’ve still got it’
4. Sometimes you feel like a taxi cab driver.
At this point I should just sign up to be an Uber driver and make a little extra money while doing my weekly rounds. At least it would help offset the thousands of dollars I’m paying for the privilege of giving up every single weekend.
5. A 15-passenger van looks pretty nice right about now.
That two-door soft top Jeep you’ve been dreaming about is no longer an option. Your main concern when car shopping these days is whether or not everyone is going to fit. And, by everyone, I mean half the team on a pizza run to celebrate the big win. If you’ve held out on buying a minivan, congrats! I’ll be checking back in with you in a few months.
6. In order to survive you must prepare.
Forget a walk-in closet for your bedroom; you need one for your car. Snacks, bottled water. sunscreen. a handheld misting fan, an umbrella and a blanket are the most important items you will put in your car.
7. You will come to be thankful for rain, sleet and snow.
There is one night each week that we don’t have any commitments-literally one night’ So, if the sky unleashes rain, sleet. snow or just about any other meteorological event that would cause a game to be canceled, I’m will thank the weather gods for giving me a night off. In the early years of being a sports mom, a canceled practice felt like throwing money in the trash. These days, I consider that money the price I’m paying to sit on my couch during a snowstorm.
8. Vacations are planned around sports seasons.
Why honey, a romantic weekend for two? How thoughtful! Hold on, let me check my calendar. Sorry, that weekend won’t work. Nope, not that one either. How does 2025 look for you?
9. Maybe kids should bring their own snacks.
This “buy snacks for the team then listen to every kid complain about what you brought” thing isn’t my idea of fun. That being said, I probably could feed the whole team with the crumbs on the floor of my car.
10. Purchasing stock in a detergent company is probably a good idea.
Long gone are the days when you could take a whiff of your little one’s jersey and tell him he could wear it again. Now you can smell it from across the room. A Costco membership is worth it for the detergent alone’
11. Gender neutral is the way to go.
I do love getting my kids the gear they lust after-until I check my bank account, that is. Next time, we’re buying all gender neutral colors, and they can share. Neon looks good on everyone, right?
12. You will find yourself missing your other sporty parent friends.
The days are short. but hours spent on the sidelines are long, so it’s no wonder a group of adults who were strangers just a couple of months ago now feel like close friends. Start your scheming early; it’s not as easy as you think keeping your kids (read: your parent friends} together each season.
By Dorothy Beal