Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sport Parenting

Georgia has been trying out for soccer teams.  She had placements for our town team last weekend and this past week, she tried out for a non-town travel team.

Before she left for her first try-out, she allowed me to take a few photos of her with her Good Luck Hair-ribbons.  

Georgia is a fierce defender.  And she likes to pose in the correct position so you can get a real idea of what she will look like out on the field.  

Parents weren't allowed to get too close to the try-out action.  This is for many reasons, the most important being that sport parents - like their stage counterparts -  are unbelievably annoying, pushy and generally insane.

For our town team placements, Gordy watched the action, but from a far away vantage point.  He thought Georgia did well.

I attended Georgia's second try-out  - the one for the non-town travel team.  I sat on bleachers, along with the other parents - all of us banished to the sidelines.  It was a freezing cold spring night and rain fell a few times before the hour and a half was up.  I watched the first few minutes of the action, focusing on Georgia and what she was doing.  At first the stands were very quiet, but as the children began their drills, the parents began to get noisy.

It is always amusing to hear the chatter of parents, worrying about their children during try-outs and placements.  I've lived through hockey placements many times, but this was my first experience with Georgia and the world of soccer and girls.  I've always assumed that hockey parents were the crazy, super-intense ones.  I've always thought that Hockey placements would be the only time I would have to witness parents pulling out their hair while their children tried to make a team.  And I am including my own husband, Gordy in this category.  Gordy goes crazy during hockey placements and I'm sure he'd admit to it, if you asked him.

It ends up that there is no difference between the stress level of parents in hockey and the stress level of parents in soccer.  They are all clinically insane.

Every single soccer parent was on the edge of their seat.  Each parent was focused on their child and muttering expletives under their breath.  Are these people simply hoping for the best for their children, or are they trying to relive their own childhood?  Who can tell.  I even found myself caught up in the moment and the stress once.  "Stop yapping, Georgia!"  I heard myself say quietly out loud at one point when I noticed that she was talking to her neighbor.  

I've been well-versed in the do's and don't's of team placements.  DO pay attention to the coaches.  DO try your hardest.  DO put yourself at the front to middle front of the line.  DON'T talk to your neighbor.  DON'T stand at the end of the line.  I've heard Gordy tell these things to Henry for countless years before countless try-outs.  Certainly, Georgia's heard them, too.

That's when I looked around me and really saw the intensity of all the parents.  I did not want to be one of those stressed out parents, annoyed at their child for every error made on the playing field.  I vowed not to watch Georgia closely for the rest of the night.  Instead, I started talking to the woman next to me -- a fellow hockey mother who seemed to share my desire to relax and let our girls live their own lives.  We talked about our crazy spring schedules and compared notes about the various sport and dance seasons.  We did our best to ignore the crazies around us.  In fact, the evening turned out to be quite pleasant.

I left that night not really knowing if Georgia did well at her try-outs.  Georgia seemed to think she had done fabulously.

Two nights later, we got an email:  Georgia made the team.


TZRB said...

Way to go Georgia! Congrats & well deserved. And Well Done Mart, for taking it in stride with a healthy dose of perspective (and restraint). You are a positive example for us all :) Hopefully I will remember your wise words when J & R are old enough to enter a similar competitive arena (what do I have? 1-2 years left of blissful ignorance?)

Martha said...

Thank you! I was proud of myself. I am not always able to exhibit such control. It is not fun to have your child Judged.

Not fun at all.

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