Erin: The world is fresh, the air is clear, and the days are long. I hear Andy Williams singing in my head, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”
Ellen: I haven’t even finished putting away my Christmas decorations…
Erin: No, it’s not THAT time of year! Put away your Christmas lists! It’s time to pay homage to the Gods of Green Grass! Any mom worth her weight in soccer balls will tell ya: Spring IS sports.
Ellen: More happy than ever that we swim. One more thing on the calendar this month might break me.
Erin: If your kid plays a sport with a ball on a field, you are feeling me right now. We Moms have worn out those second homes also known as our minivans, filled countless water bottles, and developed a serious case of tennis elbow from scrubbing the knees of baseball uniforms.
Well, Providence has smiled upon us and there is an end in sight! So walk off that hamstring pull you developed from crouching in awkward positions on the sidelines. Erase the memories of frost bite from that all day soccer tourney and. . .
Ellen: Forget about that lovely lower back condition from sitting your middle age butt on cold, unforgiving bleachers?? Not gonna happen. Why doesn’t the extra padding help??
Erin: N’er you mind! It’s time to put those ailments literally and figuratively on ice, because we have reached the finish line!
Now it is TIME for The Sports Banquets and End-of-Season Parties! Woo-Hoo!
Ellen: I’m a sorority girl. I know parties. These are no parties.
Erin: Don’t be a hater. We <ahem> , I mean, the kids have earned these! These parties warm my heart and put a little gold star on top of my mommy chauffeur report card. But you know what would blow them over the top?
Ellen: A keg.
Erin: No! Well, yes, but I’m talking about honoring our sideline sitters as well. Let’s fire up a BBQ and roast, I mean, toast our parents.
Ellen: Still going with a keg, but I like a good roast or BBQ or . . . what are we talking about?
Erin: Get on board. Without further ado, we bring you. . .
The Double EE’s Awards for Sports Parents
Ellen: Where are our kazoos?? Well, imagine us playing them here. . . Doo-doo-dle-do!
The Olympic Hopefuls
Erin: These parents were double-dosed with a powerful case of “my kid is the best.” Every crap their little darling takes is solid gold.
Ellen: Gross, but accurate. They act like they have their sights set on actual gold. . . medals, that is.
Erin: These parents Stress. Me. Out. There. I said it. Their earnest talk of the best sports camps, trainers, travel teams, and coaches—it all leaves me reaching for an oxygen mask…or a whiskey.
Ellen: The real bugger is that their kid is usually really good. It’s not like they are looking at a dandelion picker or a bench warmer and spinning tales of Rio 2016.
But the truth is that we have a small pond here. Even if their kid can backstroke in the bigger ocean of talent out in the Big Wide World, the odds aren’ t great for seeing Junior standing on that podium–about 700, 000 to 1. These are roughly the same odds as drowning in a bathtub.
Erin: Glug. Glug. We just wish they could tone it down a little. Take it all in. RE-LAX.
Ellen: But not too much while in the bathtub. This is not the place to beat the odds.
The Glory Dazed
Erin: These parents were the bomb in their day!
Ellen: They ruled the field, the track, the court, the diamond, or the pool.
Erin: They are usually very respectful of the coaches, know the rules, and love to help the kids learn to love the game.
Ellen: The problem once again is their myopic vision. If they are trying to work out some shortcoming in their own sports career through their kids, their focus can be laser-like and oppressive. For those of us on the sidelines, it can be hard to watch.Where’s that whiskey?
Erin: Their more intense, less educated cousins are the parents who were picked last in gym. These parents are also trying for a do-over through their kids, but their lack of understanding of the sport creates unrealistic expectations and impossible demands.
If you have to watch this scenario play out, treat yourself to a double-shot.
Ellen: Okay, THAT is the hardest to watch. It’s Toddlers and Tiaras on turf. Think about it.
The Jersey Collector
Erin: These parents are those kids you remember from high school who had bios yards long because they were on every team: varsity and intramural. Well, those kids are all grown up now, and they are spreading their disease to the next generation.
Ellen: Their kids are totally over-scheduled and burdened: figuratively and literally. They are toting around so many multiple sacks of gear that it is a miracle they are wearing a helmet in their lacrosse game instead of a swim cap.
Erin: The poor kids miss half their games too. Calendars can only be stretched so far. Without some divine intervention. Or a clone.
The Vuvuzela Parent
Erin: These parents are LOUD. Period. They are enthusiastic supporters of their kids and that is GREAT, but give a girl prone to headaches a break. Pass the Tylenol.
Ellen: You know what? Positive support is like Tylenol: even though it is a good thing, you can overdose on it. Take a breath, think of what a sane parent would do, dial it back a little more (just in case you have an unrealistic idea of what constitutes sane), and THEN show your support.
Also, it is O-KAY to only cheer during the spectacular parts. Just saying.
Besides, my kids swim. They can’t hear me anyway.
The Assistant Coach/Ref
Erin: These are oh-so-helpful parents to have around. They KNOW the sport and they LOVE to help the coach and the ref make sure they get it right.
Ellen: But they generally don’t like the ACTUAL commitment of being the coach or ref. And they often forget that the coaches and refs are volunteers.
Erin: These parents don’t really grasp the concept of the sideline and are constantly stepping over boundaries…
Ellen: . . . right onto the field and everyone’s toes.
Erin: The REAL coaches are not of a pay grade that entitles anyone to provide them with a running critique. If they are doing their best to be fair, they deserve a little respect with a side of parental restraint.
Erin: These parents don’t just love their kids—they love their kids’ teams.
Ellen: They are harmless, but hapless.
Erin: And easy to spot! They are bedecked in team gear. . . for their 8 year old’s team. From head to toe. To each his own.
Ellen: Erin might be endorsing this award because if she bought gear for every one of her 4 kids’ teams (yes, she gets bonus points for not having her 4 year old on a team) she might not be able to afford gas to get them the heck there.
I’m okay with it—as long as they leave their customized vuvuzelas in their SUVs.
The Holier-Than-Thou Superfits
Erin: My friend Nicole once told me that nothing stresses her out more than “Healthiness One-Upping”.
You know the parents I am talking about. “I just brought homemade granola and hand-squeezed OJ for snack.”
Or: “We run a 5k every night together, have eliminated all unrefined sugars from our family meals, and are currently lobbying to have all junk food taxed.”
Ellen: It is enough to make you want to crawl under the bleachers with a Kit Kat bar. But for the love of high fructose corn syrup: FRUIT SNACKS ARE CANDY, NOT FRUIT!
Erin: Hmmm, I’m getting a feel for which category Ellen falls into. But I am getting up on MY soapbox: END THE SNACK!! For the love of all that is good, kill this tradition. Give it the swift death it richly deserves! How ’bout this instead? EVERY kid brings his own snack. EVERY time.
Ellen: You have floored me with your brilliance.
Erin: This term usually applies to soccer moms, but you can find these parents in all sports. These are the Moms working it on the sidelines at 8am looking like they stepped out of a salon. Ladies, maybe you didn’t get the memo, but we don’t do pretty before a decent cup of coffee.
Ellen: And a blowout to stand in the rain forest humidity of the indoor pool? Puh-leez!
Erin: You win! We are not worthy.
Ellen: And last, but not least, the best award ever. . .
Erin: For real, with no traces of snark…
The Sports Parent Extraordinaire
Erin: These parents GET IT!! These parents support without suffocating and guide without getting carried away.
Ellen: These parents have put sports in its proper and important place as part of the myriad of experiences that help kids grow and develop.
Erin: These parents don’t need gold stars, championship cups, or bridge loans for four star summer sports camps.
Ellen: They are the rational, loving, SENSIBLE parents we ALL should aim to be!
Erin: Now excuse us before the rest of these parents roast us with a flamethrower.
Ellen: Or, at the very least, blast us with a vuvuzela.
Here is a link to a great article about why sports are great for kids.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski