Saturday, February 7, 2009

Navigating the brave new world of sports

Sadly, blogging seems to have been displaced by my one-line daily updates on Facebook. (I'm 'Kristen Harrald Nelson' there, if you'd like to read those....and Dad - really, we need to get you on Facebook!)

I'm entering a stage of parenting for which I am ill-prepared. The sports stage.

Growing up, I could do any sport, as long as there wasn't a ball involved. I could swim. I could run. But as soon as any sort of equipment was added, I failed miserably.

My natural reaction is to cover my eyes and duck as soon as a ball comes my way. My volleyball team did not appreciate this. Neither did my tennis partner or the other people covering the outfield with me in softball practice. I quickly learned to stick to sports with no rapidly traveling projectiles. Or better yet, non-sport activities like piano, choir or reading.

But my son - he is all about sports. The more equipment the better. And, he actually seems to be - dare I say - good at them. This is completely new territory for me.

We got a phone call yesterday from a Little League coach. Little League doesn't start for a few more months here in Wisconsin. (The snow on the ground makes it hard to see the ball in February and March.) But this coach wanted to recruit son D for his team. Son D is 6. This team is a group of 7-8 year olds. It's not T-ball - it's real baseball.

I'd planned on putting son D on a basic T-ball team with all his Kindergarten friends. But I talked to the coach for about 20 minutes and I think he convinced me to let D try the real baseball team.

I think.

I don't want to turn into one of those mothers. In my childhood world, they were the "stage mothers" - the ones who pushed, pushed, pushed their kids into getting the best roles or the highest marks in the piano competitions. My parents weren't like that at all - and for that, I am eternally grateful. If we wanted to excel at an activity, great. But they didn't really care if we had a staring role or a winning team.

Son D really wants to be on this team, so we are going to let him join it. I hope that is the right decision. It's a fine line between pushing too hard and letting the kids have an opportunity to shine.

So, if you read a post by me in 6 months complaining about how his team isn't winning because he hasn't been practicing his bunts, please schedule an intervention.

1 comment:

Bridgett said...

It was the little hard balls that terrified me--softball, tennis, baseball. I could handle the bigger ones (though I never excelled at any of them).

I try very hard not to be a stage mom. Two daughters in Irish dance--I see it a lot.