A Grandparent’s Simple Reminder About Parenting Young Athletes
My Mom just left after a week-long visit. We don’t see her much these days as she lives across the country in Washington, DC. We spent the week like we have her other visits, per her request, “Doing what you normally do”. These days, that consists mostly of schlepping from practice to practice. She spent more time on soccer fields and pool decks than she did at my house.
Growing up, my single Mom worked full time, put herself through college and raised three kids. Yet somehow, she still managed to make it to most of my games. Unlike most of today’s parents, my Mom could have, at no time, been able to tell you anything about my team, my teammates’ skill levels, any competing clubs, or even how many points I was averaging. She was never ever upset with me after a game or practice, never once lectured me about working harder, and she had zero input on how I could improve.
Once, in high school, I had a terrible performance in a very important playoff basketball game – way off my averages. Let’s just say it wasn’t my night. I remember the ride home and I was mad, really upset with myself. After about fifteen minutes without a word, my Mom tried to speak, I cut her off, said I didn’t want to talk and blurted out “I was terrible tonight”. Her reply…”don’t forget about that great pass you made in the 2nd quarter”. I have often told this story and laughed about her never ending positive outlook.
Now that I have kids of my own who are all playing sports, the story has even more poignancy. This week, she was with her Grandkids just as she had been with me – cheering and applauding each one of them, constantly telling them how amazing they played after each practice! It was a good reminder that allowed me to step back and put my parenting in perspective. Her quiet support and love was all I needed to excel and even earn a Division 1 scholarship. So maybe (just maybe) she may have been on to something. Thank you Mom for being an amazing role model and always my biggest fan!