Monday, April 11, 2016

The Best Advice To Your Youth Athlete: Mama Drama

I drove away fuming from a game last week.

If I was a sportscaster, man, I could have blown the ears off of my listeners.

I had to take a few deep breaths and seriously give myself a pep talk. And shamefully, I'll admit, the game I am speaking of is in the realm of youth sports. YIKES.

 Talk about mama bear, one of those parents, and the very attitude that gives youth sports a bad name.

C'est moi.

Yep, I often find myself running to the sidelines and stumbling into the big pot hole of "that's not fair". And it takes a good talking to self to stop my angry mind from spinning.

Ok. I admitted it. Judge me. But...let me try and redeem myself for a moment.

Because, while my head was reeling and my heart was pounding, and I was grumbling inwardly about all that occurred on the field, my voice of reason suddenly became loud enough to drown out the crapola going through my mind.

"FOCUS, Ang."

"What's the most important thing?"

"Why are we even committing life to this ridiculously time-consuming arena of youth athletics?"

Ok, and finally, the usual last resort, but pretty much the best place to start, "What would Jesus do?"

And you know what?

I found myself taking my son by the shoulders and imparting something that goes against every competitive bone in my body...something that might seem a foolish cop out, something that is very difficult to do, but probably the best way to quench the fire of "unfairness" in any avenue of life. That night, I gave my son a three part motto, and he seemed happy to receive it:


AAAH! This is not natural to all. When the game goes south, all I want to do is go and complain to everyone in sight. And I'm not even playing! But you know, the squeaky wheel doesn't always get the grease. Actually, it might be sent straight to the junkyard. Everyone has a part, everyone looks at things differently. And everyone gets chances AND loses opportunities.

It's all about attitude.

Especially with youth sports. What do I really want out of my child's experience? A shelf piled with trophies, or a young man of character and ability?

If he's going to put forth effort, let it be his best so he doesn't regret a thing.

If he's going to be part of a team, let him not appear that he's in it for himself, but let him lead the team in encouragement.

If he's going to encourage teammates, let him not complain when things don't go his way and the game appears to be full of disappointment, but let him realize that there's so much more than a trophy at stake.

It's time that youth sports become more about the men and women we are developing, and less about the win. If we should yell at our children from the bleachers, let it be an encouragement. If we should wonder why the heck the coach chose that play, let us remember that it really is just a game, and the most important question is "how did my child react, and what does it say about his character?"

I am tired of youth sports getting a bad name because of the lost focus on what it should be about. Let's try and make a difference, not in the scoreboard, but in our kids.

And it starts with me. How about you?

Are you with me?

Happy Mama Drama Monday!

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