We are the chauffeurs, the unabashed cheerleaders in the stands, the provider of a steady stream of chatter (go to open gym, work hard, do your best, be a listener, hustle, you gotta [fill in the blank with your go-to post-game words of “wisdom”]…). We are the parents of the athletes. Sometimes our chatter might be less than appreciated, other times we say precisely what they needed to hear. We wondered, though, what the kids might have to say about how they feel when their parents are watching them play and what they wish we’d say to them (or what they wanted us to know).
Most of the kids (of all kinds of ages) said they feel: incredible, happy, and proud when their families are there watching and cheering. Though, for some, it wouldn’t hurt any feelings if their family was a bit more…restrained, let’s say, in their enthusiasm. Yet, Pryor (6), remarks that “Isn’t that what moms and dads do?” Sure is, buddy.
For an almost 14-year-old softball player, whose mom has been coaching her since age 7, she recognizes that how she sees her mom’s chatter and cheering has changed over the years. “Before the age of 12, I thought, ‘Just keep quiet so I can concentrate,’” she laughs. “But now that I am older I find you say encouragement in just the right moments I need. You’re the loudest screamer in the excitement which makes the game that much more fun as I get to laugh and think, ‘Yep, that’s my mom she loves watching us.’ I like it when you are my ‘Mirror,’ and I can see the small things for me to apply to change when I am pitching, which makes me feel like I have someone to help me. I appreciate you, mom, as my coach and as my friend when you watch me play. It feels good to look over and see you both there having my back through the rough times and the good times.”
Emme (12), appreciates that her parents encourage her when she makes mistakes, telling her she’ll get it next time. To which London (13) says this to her parents, “Thanks for the encouragement, no matter the performance or outcome.”
There might be a few nerves with mom and dad in the stands, shares Madie (12), but having their support outweighs those feelings. Meanwhile, 14-year-old Rex says that hearing the usual, “Good job,” from his parents is all he needs. However, he’d love it if they could know what it’s like to be up at the plate, adding, “Mom, watching you try to hit a curveball would be really funny.”
But, really, parents I think Lexi speaks for us all when she says she wishes her parents would say this after a win: “Congrats! You get ice cream!” When in doubt, though, you can’t wrong with these six words: “I love to watch you play!” Oh, and maybe leave the coaching to the coaches…
Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s July 2018 issue.
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