My son started playing basketball at 8-years old, he’s now 15 and is on his high school team. He’s done everything your son has and so have we. He’s attended the camps, the trainings, the practices, the games. So have we. We pay for the uniforms, the hotels, the camps, the trainings, the gear…just like you. But there’s one difference. Our son sits on the bench and yours plays.
In two years, he’s racked up a total of approximately 20 minutes. That’s one-half of one game. Yet, we are at all the games, supporting the team and the other players. We clap and cheer, fundraise, bring food on our nights, drive teammates who need rides. And we do all of this because our son loves playing basketball and because it is his desire and his dream and hope that one day he will get to play more often. But it doesn’t mean that tears haven’t been shed, that car rides home haven’t been long and quiet or that I haven’t had to hold back my screams to put my son into the game when we are up by twenty points.
And it also doesn’t make it any easier to hear loud complaining from you, that the coach took your son out twice and why should he get subbed out over so and so or how he got snubbed from the all-conference team. WE ARE SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU! I get that we all have our own challenges, but please try and be respectful and remember that just because we are all now so used to our son not getting into the games, that it doesn’t make it any easier or less painful each game he doesn’t play. We still show up. We come and sit and watch your sons play.
Secretly, we wouldn’t mind one bit if he stopped playing. We could spend some time together as a family, instead of driving to practices, games, and to Timbuktu to watch your sons play.
You see we aren’t as passionate, strong-willed or committed as our son. He loves this sport. He loves it so much that he’s willing to show up, practice after practice, game after game. So we support him. And we support your sons and cheer for them as though they belong to us too.
But please, try and have some respect for what we do and what our son does. Remember that it isn’t easy and that if it wasn’t for my son, your son wouldn’t be as good, he wouldn’t have someone pushing him in practice or cheering for him from the bench, or there to pat your son on the back and tell him it’s ok when he’s having a bad game.
The parents of the benchwarmers, backups, and brave boys and girls who are always stuck on the sidelines