If you had told me a year ago that my son would be playing 60 plus baseball games this year I would have laughed. I am not one of those moms whose life revolves around my kids, much less their sports. I like my Saturdays and I was never athletic, so all this fuss over 11 and 12 year olds is a bit odd to me. Nevertheless, my kid asked to do it, begged me and I said yes. He’s a good kid, what could go wrong?
A lot can go wrong. Starting with me sitting on a dusty field, freezing my ass off, watching my kid implode in right field because he missed a ground ball. Of course this error causes the other team to score a run, maybe two, which is just great. That’s not even the worst part, instead of running after the ball; he puts his head in his hands and just stands there, doing nothing, which is super great. How in all that is holy did I put myself in a situation where other parents are yelling at my kid, I mean some of these parents are furious. I’m thinking, “What the hell am I doing here?”
Playing the devils advocate, I understand why the parents are angry. My kid gave up. He missed the ball, put his hands on his head and did not give chase. I call this a “humbling parental moment”. This is a moment when your kid screws up and everyone is thinking your parenting sucks. I’m thinking my parenting sucks. Some of you might ask “all because he missed a ball?” As insane as this sounds I need to remind you I am talking about competitive sports parents, a whole different ballgame my friends, no pun intended.
One part of me is furious. “What is wrong with him, he just gave up,” I ask my husband, who looks as if he wants to crawl under a rock. He shakes his head. I’m thinking, pack it up, quit, and never return, this is not worth it. I can see one parent fuming; I mean she is really pissed. Seeing her reaction makes me realize, this is crazy! Totally crazy, and I will not be apart of crazy, unless I’m drinking and in Vegas.
Now is the time for what I call “parenting for my peeps”. I don’t really care about the angry parents. Seriously, it’s a baseball game. Let’s face it, as soon as the kid has a great play or at bat, in one of the next 60 plus game, did I mention that we are playing 60 plus games, this moment will be a memory. Not to mention these parents are so not invited to his wedding. I care about my kid, he is my people, and he is in need of some support.
Even though I really want to rip my kid a new one, I know this will do no good. We have a long season, this is only the 3rd, oh, I already said that didn’t I? He’s horrified; I can see it in his face, the awful realization that he caused his team to lose. Then it dawns on me. Here is a perfectly talented kid who got overwhelmed, and froze.
We’ve all been there. In a situation we can’t handle. Confronted by a mistake we can’t fix. We hang our heads, start freaking out, and implode in front of the screaming masses, or at least that's how it feels. How many of us have screwed up and done nothing, just stood there. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that every parent at the game that day has been there too.
I told my Kid, you bought and paid for that mistake so now you own it. You can ignore, hide it in the closet, or you can set it on the mantel, look at it and figure out how to do better next time. Either way it’s yours to keep. I don’t know about you, but when I buy something new, I want to look at it. Unless, I lied to my husband about what is cost, then I hide it for a few days, but that’s a different story.
We should see our mistakes this way. We don't need to hide them, we need to look at them. They can be life changing. Of course, they hurt, they are painful, embarrassing and sometimes people scream at you for making them. But no amount of screaming can make you change. That part comes from inside. When we honestly look at what we did, what when wrong and what we can do better next time, then the mistake loses it’s sting. Hell, we might even be able to laugh at it.
I am reminded to take a dose of my own advice. My mistakes are mine and mine alone, I live with them, and only I can learn from them. Its all right to make mistakes, but its not all right to give up. Shake it off and say you’re sorry. By the way, he apologized to his coach for being “whiney” his words, not mine. I am not afraid of the “humbling parental moments,” they are great opportunities for learning, but I am afraid of some of those parents, yeesh.
I can’t guarantee what will happen when he makes his next baseball mistake. I hope he runs after that ball and finishes strong no matter what the outcome, but if we have to have this talk again, we will. God knows I’m guilty of making the same mistake twice, sometimes ten, twenty times. Sooner or later we learn from our mistakes and I’ll be there for my kid till he does. I’m a proud sports mom, that’s what the hell I’m doing here.