Are You A Sports Parent Hypocrite — Like Me?
So, I was walking my three dogs the other morning (yes 3 – I know, insane) when a mom I’ve known several years pulled up in her minivan. She’s been a big fan and supporter of Ilovetowatchyouplay and even mentioned once writing a piece for us. After a few minutes of chit-chatting, she apologized for never getting it done and confessed that she has been really struggling with the whole “Ilovetowatchyouplay” philosophy. She felt she was being dishonest to write a piece for us, when she herself wasn’t truly able to embrace what the website stands for yet. It really took me aback and I haven’t stopped thinking about that conversation. So, I decided I needed to clear the air and set one thing straight, that I thought was pretty obvious.
I am a sports parent hypocrite.
We didn’t create ilovetowatchyouplay.com because we had it all figured out; we created it because we needed it. We all need it. The saying, I love to watch you play, is an ideal. It’s something to strive for, but it is far from easy and most of us with children who compete have a difficult time ALWAYS feeling that way – or even half of the time.
Call me a hypocrite, call me whatever you’d like, but I would assume that if you don’t struggle occasionally – or often, with being a good sports parent, that you probably aren’t reading this article, you aren’t on this site or searching the internet at 11 pm for information on how to do this better. Because it AINT easy.
I struggle every single day to make the right choices for my three kids, in all areas of their lives. And anyone who says they have it all figured out, just isn’t telling the truth or is delusional. This website was created for people like me, who are competitive, enjoy sports, love watching their kids play – but know there is a better way and want to do it better, because we want our kids to be happy, healthy and successful. But it’s not easy to do this today, because those three things can often be at odds with how our youth sports culture operates and how that has affected us as parents and our choices and our psyches.
Anyone who has a kid on a team with one of mine, knows I can be too critical and negative about how my kids play. I’m not a screamer and I don’t speak poorly about the other kids or coaches or referees, but man, can I be hard on my kids. Sometimes I can keep it in my head and sometimes I let it out. Sometimes I can change my mindset and understand the damage my negativity creates (even if the kids can’t hear it), but other times, it slips out into the universe. The worst is when I forget one of my other kids is sitting next to me and hears my negative rumblings about their sibling – the look of shock – and realization, that “that’s what she’s probably saying about me,” should be enough to stop me. But it doesn’t. Sometimes I just can’t stop myself. Thankfully, I am a million times better than I was before co-founding Ilovetowatchyouplay.com, but I’m still fighting the good fight.
This is why we created this website. Because parents aren’t perfect. And we are all struggling, because we love our kids so much and want the absolute best for them. But sometimes we lose sight of what that is and how to do it. And we need to know that others are struggling too, and that there is a better way.