Disclaimer: I’m going to write about being a sports mom. This is something you may or may not relate to, or find interesting. It also may or may not be a choice you’ve made for, or decided against, for your own family. Regardless, this is how we live our lives, and that is where the explanation ends. That’s all you get from me, fellow parents and non-parents, so move along and save your judgment for heckling the president or those assholes on twitter attacking teenagers or Nabisco for making kettle corn flavored Oreos.
Real thoughts I have while sitting in the parents area behind the glass wall overlooking a giant training gym during Gigi’s gymnastics practice:
- Okay for real, I need to call my gynecologist to get in to talk to her about my bladder leakage. This girl on the trampoline is making me doubt the efficacy of my panty liner right now.
- So that’s what my thick thighs were for. This whole time I should have been a gymnast. I just thought I was doomed to blow the inner thigh out of all my pants, and here I could have used them for good and been collecting medals or trophies.
I think it’s natural to expect your kids to have the same level of sports interest and ability as you. I’m not saying it’s realistic, I’m saying it’s a natural thought you’re allowed to have and be totally wrong about.
Prior to this stage of my life, I found “sports mom” to be a goal I never really aspired to.
However, this desire was short lived as soon as Jude and Wyatt discovered soccer and basketball, and determined that life was only worth living when they were actively putting a ball into a net or basket.
I used to want to raise these wanderlust filled beings who know four languages by the age of eight, and travel all over the country with old timey suitcases covered in bumper stickers.
And now we do travel all over, to tournaments and Chili’s restaurants off highways. So I guess we went a different way with that.
But that skillet queso tho.
So I bought a warm blanket, the required forms of collapsible things (camp chair, wagon, tent sized sports umbrella), a cooler full of granola bars and bottled water, and made a life out of it.
(Shirts from The Nut Farm Co. and I love them)
I even have paraphernalia, you guys. I have actual outfits about my kids being athletes and my car smells like wet cleats.
And if Wet Cleat was a Yankee Candle, it’d smell like cat pee and Icy Hot.
After every game, the boys come up to me, but their arms around my waist and make me promise I’ll move wherever they are drafted, and I say, of course man, as long as it’s not to Golden State or anywhere that has alligators. Life is blissful with them and their competitive enthusiasm.
And then there was Gigi, my tiny little cherub.
Gigi had a brief stint in soccer, a sport I played for decades and fully assumed she’d love and Abby Wambach rock the fuck out of.
But alas, no and no. Gigi hated soccer.
So instead, she willingly spent hours in basketball gyms and along soccer sidelines, cheering her brothers on.
But also, this.
Over and over and over. The flipping never stopped.
I thought, maybe she’s a cheerleader? So I went to the local gymnastics and cheer studio to sign her up to try out for competitive cheerleading.
The very first night of try-outs, Gigi looked at the high school and college gymnasts around her all strong and powerful on the vaults and bars and said, nah, this is what I want.
Which is how I ended up here a year later, on this metal chair, where I’ve been sitting for an hour and a half next to other moms living their best mom lives on metal chairs behind walls of glass, while their kids are out there doing brave things.
And then something changed. No, changed isn’t the right word. Escalated.
And then something escalated.
We were taken into an office, handed a yellow folder of papers, and invited to be on the competition team.
No more classes, no more training for fun, real actual competitive gymnastics.
And so now, I’m sitting on my usual metal chair all the way against the far wall, away from the lady eating dry cereal from a bag with reckless crunching abandon, blogging my feelings to you, thoroughly planted in the fifth and final stage of what I call Competitive Sports Grief.
It’s a lot like the normal stages of grief, only more expensive and with more Taco Supremes eaten in my car before the parking lot fills up.
Stage 1: Denial. Am I supposed to be in this office? We just stared training team 2 months ago, and I assumed we’d be on that at least a year to build her skills up, so maybe you’ve pulled the wrong mom in here?
Stage 2: Anger. Everyone else gets a year on training team, how are we even supposed to afford this so soon? How am I supposed to now volunteer an additional 12 hours? I HAVE A JOB AND BILLS YOU GUYS I AM NOT LIONEL RICHIE.
Stage 3: Bargaining. Okay Andy, if I stop eating solid foods and live on off-brand baby food and ramen noodles, we could totally probably make this happen.
Stage 4: Depression. I don’t know how to justify saying no to this when we give the boys the moon because it’s easier, less time consuming and a bit more affordable… but not by much. Everything inside me is in turmoil and I hate it.
Stage 5: Acceptance. This is our life now. I think I am turning my paperwork in on Monday. Save me a seat, Simone Biles mom, and if you’re done with those nachos, I’ll finish them for you.