This fall, Parker joined his first organized sports team – the under 6 soccer league for our county. What that means, folks, is that I am officially a soccer mom. I’m not going to lie, I’m not sure how I feel about having that label and all that it implies, but I can tell you that I am thrilled to be spending my Saturday mornings at games.
I spent my entire childhood and adolescence training and competing in sports, so it’s an arena that I’m very comfortable with. I have a feeling, though, that the Irishman is terrified that I will be one of “those” parents. You know the kind – those parents who have high expectations for their rising starts, who follow behind the coach yelling out instructions to the players, who are disappointed if their kid doesn’t play well.
I swear, he spent more time watching me than Parker during that first game. While I can see where his concern comes from (I’m probably the most competitive person this side of the Mississippi), his fears are unfounded for one very important reason that became quite clear to us during the second soccer game of the season…
It just so turns out that Parker is as competitive as I am (without any prompting from me). I know this because he burst into tears when his team started losing and when he failed to immediately score a goal. I know that feeling all too well. It’s a need to excel and I swear, it’s an inborn trait. My parents were the most laid-back and supportive parents you could possibly have had and I still felt the need to ‘win’ (whatever that means).
My parents never had to push me to succeed. Instead, they had to tamper my drive. “It’s okay if you don’t make your best time.” “Make sure you’re still having fun out there.” “Why don’t you take a day off and go catch a movie?” I was the most hyper-motivated kid out there and that motivation came with lots of tears and lots of frustration until I learned to channel it productively.
So while I understand the Irishman’s uncertainty about how I’ll handle this new sports-mom role, I can assure him that I’m probably the best person to help Parker through how he feels because I understand it perfectly. Boy, do I ever.