Today my son’s community college Baseball career has came to an end. As I sit here heartbroken for him, I have to admit I unselfishly had no desire to see him stop playing anytime soon. I so wanted his team to advance to the next level. However tonight, they just couldn’t pull it off.
Many people out there do not understand exactly what it means for an athlete to attend a community college. Quite frankly, I’m not up for a debate. But what I do know is, that for two years straight, my son lived with his fellow teammates. He saw the same faces everyday. His coach and trainer played the role as his caretakers and there will never be anything I can ever do to thank them for that. I slept so well at night with my baby nearly ten hours away knowing that if anything were to ever happen he would be taken care of.
When he graduated from high school, I remember telling him from here on out his life would consists of many goodbyes. He had a hard time saying goodbye to his high school teammates and I could foresee how hard it would be to say goodbye to his next team.
But how did we get here? How did we get to this again? Saying goodbye to yet another team.
At some point, parents, you have to stop wanting this more than your child does. Do you love the game or does he? You tell all your friends and family, “If he/she wanted to quit I would be ok with it.” Are you sure about that? Through the years I have also said the same. But I do remember when it was time for me to finally step back and allow my son to handle is own career.
Advice for Parents of Athletes
Here is my advice:
Parents, when entering high school sports, allow your child’s talent to do the talking for you.
You should not have more than five conversations with your child’s coach regarding their ability to play during the entire four years. Trust me on that one.
Believe it or not your child’s coach really does know more about your child. While you may think your child would make a better shortstop, your coach knows with all certainty that he does not belong there.
Never. Never ever talk bad about your child’s coach at home. You must teach your kid to respect their coaches. I know my son feared what would happen at home if he got into trouble but knowing he also feared his coach and the consequences he would have to pay (running laps, running and more running) was a big help. It never bothered me that at times he seemed to walk a straight line because he knew his coach would find it otherwise. Whatever it takes to keep your child straight take advantage of it. So many times I threatened to pick up the phone and call his coach. It always worked.
On a bad day, allow your kid to be upset with himself if he didn’t play well. We parents wear rose colored glasses to every game. If your child feels a game was lost because of an error on his part it’s ok to be supportive but what he’s really doing is setting the bar even higher for himself. He’s competitive and competing with himself. As hard as it is to witness, just leave him alone.
When your child moves on to the next level, he will be starting all over again. This may be harder for you.
You don’t have to tell the other parents or coach what a superstar he was in high school. No one cares.
You don’t have to tell anyone that he was a letterman all four years. No one cares.
You are literally starting all over again. This will only humble your child even more so keep your mouth shut. This is the true test of being an athlete. It’s a mental thing. Your child needs to understand yes, I was great, I was practically a king at my high school, but here I am in a room filled with kings… I no longer stand out.
I promise you, as great an athlete as you thought your child was, just wait. He will become even better. More than you ever imagined.
As parents of athletes it’s a roller coaster no doubt. But you must be able to identify the moment when it’s time to let go. My son will be off to a new beginning at a D1 school where we will be starting all over once again.
More goodbyes to come.
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Jennifer Lee Hussein is the mother of two grown, yes grown children. She is a rookie empty-nester. She has a twenty two year old daughter who is a flight attendant which basically means she is making a living staying away from her dramatic and needy mother. She also has an twenty year old son who is attending college in Missouri on a baseball scholarship. Both of her kids have left home leaving her to do something she always heard would happen but never really saw it coming…..which is having to spend the rest of her life with her husband of over twenty years in their hometown Houston,Texas. In her free time she likes to make her kids feel guilty about not calling her by sub-tweeting them and posting old photos and tagging them with the captions such as “miss these days” and “miss hearing their voices.” She enjoys reading, writing, traveling to watch her son play baseball and dining out as much as possible.