There are signs of spring everywhere. If you look carefully around your neighborhood you will see that the kids are emerging from their homes to play outside and the baseball fields full of weeds and void of life are getting primed with fresh brick dust, chalk lines and sod. For a baseball mom, spring means digging the bat bag out from under the bed, buying new cleats and preparing for the endless hours of sitting on the uncanny bleachers that reside outside the fence of the nearest baseball field.
It a wonderful thing to involve your child in sports. When they love the game, watching them play is a completely fulfilling feeling and being a baseball mom gives you something to look forward to. Even if you have never loved the game before when it is your child standing at the plate, bat in hand filled with the optimism of hitting a stinger deep into left field, baseball or softball become exciting. You cheer when they strike out and practically jump off the stands when they make contact with the ball thrown their way. When they catch a pop fly, slide into home and make the perfect throw to first for the final out of the inning there is no better feeling than being a baseball mom. You feel proud almost as if it is you out there playing. Still, the sport can take over and competition, pressure and the backward attitudes of other parents can ruin it all if you aren’t careful.
Being a baseball mom means many things. It means taking your kid to practice even if you don’t really want to go. It entails missing more dinners at home for the boiled hotdogs and popcorn sold at the park and interacting with other parents and children, many of whom you may not like. It means supporting the coach and allowing your child to learn the lessons of hard work, team cooperation and persistence. Being a baseball mom means that you allow the coach to work his magic and even if you don’t agree with it, you hold your tongue so your pessimism doesn’t wear off on your child. It also means watching your child succeed and fail more than once in a single game and refraining from comparing your child to their peers. It also means that you afford your child a chance to do and participate in something that is entirely their own thus owning the rights to their performance. Talking them through a losing streak without blaming team mates and biting back your anger or frustration when you feel your child didn’t do your best. After all, they are just children out there on the field playing a game that they love.
There seems to be a defining line between children who succeed at sports and those who don’t. Often, this decision is made by the parents. Parents need to encourage their children and make sure that they follow through on their decision to play. Many may want to quit after a practice that was nothing more than running suicides and may be mad if they don’t get to play the position of their dreams. As a baseball mom, you have to ensure your children persevere making sure that they don’t become quitters in life when things don’t go there way. While it may be easier to just let them quit or let them skip out on practice, truth be told you are teaching them that there is an easy way out in life every time they are uncomfortable. While the measure of success is different for every child, kids that show up for the work, the games and participate in the team should always be heralded as winners whether they scored the winning run or spent the entire 9 inning picking weeds from the outfield fence.
Far too many baseball moms become so involved that they act like hyenas on the sidelines. They scream at coaches, coach their children through every swing and yell at the referees when a bad call is made. They stomp and pout making themselves look like fools and embarrassing the stew out of their poor children. When you decide to make yourself heard on the sidelines, being a baseball mom means you do it when there is something positive to applaud. When you see your own child or others hanging their head down in defeat, you encourage rather than blame. Sure, everyone wants to win and chances are your child wants it more than you do! However it is difficult for children to process the unrestrained anger of their mothers and fathers who sit too boldly on the sidelines chastising the efforts of others.
Being a baseball mom is satisfying. It is nice to spend the days outdoors indulging in the dreams of your child. It is also a time to reflect on your own childhood and realize that you are allowing your child to become and bloom into something that perhaps you never did. Still, it is vital to understand that being a baseball mom doesn’t mean living through your child or undermining their efforts or abilities. Games for children are for fun and excess competition and stress will only drive children away from the sports they love out of fear. As a parent, it is difficult to sit on the sidelines of a child’s life no matter what the circumstances. However, the most important gift we can give to our children is the constant, comfortable and unwavering support that often means their life takes precedence over our own. When that is combined with pride for both their successes and their ability to persevere failure there are bonds being forged that will last with your children for a lifetime. Being a baseball mom seems to come naturally during springtime and gives each of us a new opportunity to sprout deeper roots with our children that are soiled with respect, tolerance, sportsmanship and pure and honest love for the game.
By: Stef Daniel – Softball is for Girls‘
Softball is for Girls is dedicated to all the parents, coaches, players and and fans of softball – from pitching machine to fastpitch that make it possible for the millions of girls playing….to play.
View Website – softballisforgirls.com/‘