Will My Marriage Outlast Youth Sports?
Will My Marriage Outlast Youth Sports? Don’t get me wrong – my marriage has been wonderful in many ways. We love each other deeply, are best friends, and have unforgettable memories together. But lately, I wonder whether our marriage has been built on a foundation of shin guards, folding chairs, and water bottles. We had our kids soon after marriage, and it’s been all fields and courts since. Although neither of us played sports growing up, we have fallen in love with our kids’ sports. The dedication and passion these kids share, the strategy and hard work that makes the team successful, the lessons of character it has taught them, and most importantly, the camaraderie between teammates and families.
Our two sons, 15 and 17, are actively involved in various sports teams, but neither plans to pursue sports in college. Their games, practices, and tournaments take up most weekdays and weekends. For the past 12 years, we have done nothing but watch our kids play sports. I know this might sound sad or pathetic, but we have loved every minute of it. Our teams have become like second families to us.
We aren’t crazy sports parents. We don’t scream and yell on the car rides home or force our kids to play. But we talk about it often: at dinner, before bed, or while having our morning coffees. We know the ins and outs of all their teams, and we enjoy following and supporting our boys and all their teammates. We feel invested in their successes and support them through any struggles as though they are our own. Some of their parents are our best friends now. And we even know many of the opposing teams’ families and players. We have been ALL-IN.
I wish we had other shared hobbies and interests outside of youth sports. Over the years, we have rarely gone on dates or vacations without our kids unless they are out-of-town tournaments. When they put away their cleats and high tops for good, I’m worried my husband and I won’t know what to talk about or do with ourselves. I have tried to practice; at dinner, I will think, ‘I’m not going to say anything about sports this entire meal.’ And It doesn’t last long. One of us will inevitably bring something up about sports. We have nothing else to talk about.
Although this makes me sad, I wouldn’t give up any of these experiences for the world. Together, we have enjoyed every single minute, well, almost every minute. And for now, we will continue to savor the time with our kids on the field and off. I’m not sure what’s in store for us down the road, but I hope we will fill that hole with something else that connects us. I’m just not sure what that is yet. Plus, there’s always our friends’ kids’ games 😳.