I love cheering from the sidelines. I love standing side-by-side with other parents and collectively urging our kids on. I am thrilled when my kid’s team comes together and works as one and we, their parents, are a single supportive cheering section. And I lose my ever-loving mind when one of the boys scores a goal. Yep, I am that parent.
But what I love the most, the moment that almost brings me to tears is when I hear other parents cheering my kid on. I know this matters to him. I know that despite the attempt that our teens make to look oh-so-cool, the praise of their parents and their teammate’s parents means the world to them.
What I love about other sports parents
But I love far more than this.
I love the parent who shouts encouragement to each team member and reminds us ALL that we are there to support ALL of our kids.
I love the parents who cheer our kids’ efforts, not just their scoring goals. So many things go into creating success but on this field, on this day, at this game and our players can only control their own effort. And that effort is to be applauded, no matter what the outcome of the game.
I get chills when I hear the roar of the parents when a teammate who hasn’t had much playing time or has struggled a bit this season gets something right. At that moment, in our relief and joy, he is all of our sons.
I love the parent who tells each kid that they did a great job, that they were a great contributor, even when the team loses.
I love the parent who remembers the great move one kid made in the beginning of the game, and when the kids are streaming off the field after it is all over, takes the time to compliment him on it.
I love the cheer that goes up from the parents on both sides when a player who appears to be injured gets up from the field and walks off on their own. We collectively hold our breath when they have fallen because we know that it could be our kid. And when the kid gets up and walks off the field, the cheers from the sidelines are a heartfelt sigh of relief because there is no parent who hasn’t tasted that fear.
I love the incredibly gracious parent, the one who should be a model for us all, who congratulates players from the other team and tells them what a great job they did. That parent knows that it takes a village and knows that we are all members of that village.
I admire the parent who thanks the referees. Reffing is a thankless job, but without them, there is no game.
I am grateful to the parent who remembers to thank our coaches and to all of the parents who resist the urge to coach from the sideline. It is so easy to think we know more the the person managing our teen’s team, but we rarely do.
I love the parents who knows that after a big win they will congratulate their own kid privately on the car ride home, but here in the moment they will congratulate everyone else’s.
I am thankful for every parent who understands that winning or losing the game pales in comparison to the lessons our children and teens can learn on that playing field.
By the end of a season, the parents I have stood with on the sidelines begin to feel like family. And like any family, we understand that it is the collective that matters most. We want each kid to have the chance to shine, but we also know that it is what they have learned and done as a team that matters most.
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