So, my kid had a volleyball tournament today. And I’m sitting there trying unsuccessfully to read while another team was on the court, right? Perhaps it was because I was slightly hungover and my head felt a bit floaty, but I began to look around the gym as if this wasn’t my 9,456th time sitting at one of my kid’s sporting events. Soaring overhead on the gym wall was an enormous mural of cats in various stages of a pounce. Their snarls and fierce determination were in sharp contrast to the bored volleyball girls piled in the stands staring into their phones as they munched Hot Cheetos.
Juxtaposition. I have it.
Amidst thumping volleyballs, whistles, and girls shouting to one another, there was the prerequisite group of women down front with their perfect hair and sparkly flip-flops and matching shirts. They’d occasionally look at one another knowingly to solidify their suspicion that their daughter’s coach was (or was not) doing his (or her) job. The dads standing up top were examining the court as if to will their daughters to excel as they barked things like “DIG!” and “Y’ALL HAVE TO WANT IT!” and “COME ON! HUSTLE, LADIES!” and “Y’ALL HAVE TO GET THOSE!”
The whole scene struck me as comedic and I was feeling rather above-it-all until I realized that, while my hair was far from perfect, I was wearing one of those “Mom” t-shirts and sparkly sandals. Also? Had my Hubster been off work today, he would have been at the top of the stands hollering along with the other dads. Had my aforementioned head felt less floaty, I would have hollered a “Come on! Hustle!” or three.
What is it that makes us get so riled up at our kids’ sporting events? While I realize that not all parents freak out about a game, I’ve done it. A lot have I done it. I did it one time to the point that I felt embarrassed to show my face at my hometown Little League park for a month. It was a long time ago, but it was bad, y’all. Hollering. Cursing. Bad. For me, anyway. Not bad enough for…ya know…YouTube or anything, but still. Completely unnecessary. The silver lining is that I’ve refrained from letting a game get under my skin like that ever again. Over the years, I’ve mellowed. When a game goes south, I read my book or play on my phone until the feeling passes. Occasionally, I happen to be sitting within earshot of a parent going apeshit, which helps. Perspective and all, you understand.
The moral of the story is this: Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka is delicious, but rather sneaky. Owie.
No. That’s not it. It’s this: Your hollering or worrying or freaking out or missing a game or whatever is rather small in the grand scheme of things. Going to college on a sports scholarship is great, when it happens, but it’s also pretty rare. Even when it does happen, your freaking out isn’t going to change the outcome. Just enjoy your kid. I find that talking to my daughter following a game when our hair is wrapped in towels as we lie on the couch is the best replay on the planet. Furthermore, the lessons learned about teamwork, conflict resolution, leadership, respect, and goal-setting are what it’s all about. So, I’m going to try to stay mellow at sporting events. For me, that’s not all that mellow. But it’s better. And that’s the key, right? Getting better?