I Long To Watch You Play
I was a little sister with two big brothers. We played every sport. I threw a perfect spiral at 9 years old. I wrestled, pitched, fielded, spiked, and competed in everything. I was even good with video games. I could take on any boy my size or bigger. I loved sports, all of them. I loved to compete. It makes me so sad that you do not.
Where did I go wrong? When you were 4, I put you in soccer. You seemed to like it – even when you were so little that you ran toward the wrong goal. As the seasons went on your interest waned. Mine did not.
We tried dance classes. I loved to watch you dance … fall on your face, get up and dance again. When it was clear that dance and soccer were not for you, we moved on. We tried softball. We tried basketball, tennis, martial arts and volleyball. But nothing.
It makes me sad to think of all the things you are missing out on. The discipline, camaraderie, exercise, and focus…they’re all so important to build your character and keep you healthy. Learning to lose is as important as winning with grace … you learn them both as an athlete. Those times on the field when you stopped to console the losing team rather than celebrate the win with your team was so foreign to me. I just didn’t understand. It’s been nearly 10 years and I still don’t understand.
Your little brother … surely he’ll like sports. Again, we tried it all. But, nothing. Dragging you two to everything is exhausting – begging you to put on your uniform or even just your cleats for practice took all my energy. It makes me feel like a failure – is it because I’m a single mom? Wait, don’t answer that – it might hurt too much. I just long to watch you play. I long to see you thrive. I long to root you on. I long to be your biggest fan.
Several years have gone by now. Sports are a distant memory. I listened to the books that said to let your kids find themselves. Instead of soccer, softball and lacrosse, you found acting, singing, art, public speaking and leadership. That’s where I found my kid and her passions and an outlet to cheer her on and be her biggest fan. Sometimes I’m so proud I can’t even breathe. I’ll be front row center at every performance and I’ll cheer when you sing, I’ll cheer when you act. When you take that final bow, you can bet I’ll be crying, and my pride in you will have no bounds. That’s what YOU love and so that’s what I love now. You’re my kid and it’s about you … not me.