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No-Hit Anonymous No More

Anyone out there have kids that aren’t natural born athletes? Slow-mo, here I go… wincing, I raise my hand ever so sheepishly. It’s something I don’t want to openly admit because when you’re a part of this no-hit club for some outrageous reason you  feel like you are betraying or belittling your child with this admittance that, well, maybe sports are not necessarily your forte, my dear boy.

But here it is. I have sat at countless t-ball and pee-wee league games… watched ground balls roll through the legs of my pride and joy,  powerlessly viewed as he felt defeat with each swift, no contact swing. I’ve sat on the soccer sidelines an innumerable amount of times observing the apple of my eye flinch at the faintest trace of ball contact.

“Does he have any siblings? Any brothers or sisters?”  A fellow mother once inquired behind the dug out of a pee wee league game.

“Oh, no, he’s my one and only,” I replied naively with a smile.

“Oh, that must be why. See Ben plays baseball all the time with his two older brothers.”

Oh no you didnt

Oh, that must be why????

Who asked you and your extra large Dunkin Donut cup’s opinion?  I slowly turned to her as the subtle insult registered with a fixed, WTH? face, but knew it best to suppress the mama claws that were seething to come out.

What did you just say, pee wee princess?

“Mmm…. good.” I civilly replied and then did a swift pivoted side step away. Best believe a cerebral cat hisssss rang every time I caught eyes with that condescending khaki capried Momster ever since that dug out day.

But what’s a no hit mom to do? It’s an unspoken truth. Everyone knows. We all see it. Some parents get to sit smugly, or in certain cases ever so humbly, with their koozies or coffees, watching with a glint in their eye as their super star child hits another grand slam, shoots another  goal, lands a lay-up, or aces that speeding bullet serve.

But here it really is. I am not embarrassed that my child is not a natural super star athlete. I am not embarrassed that my pride and joy flinches or winces, fumbles or blunders.

Here is why I am unabashedly proud of my no-hit kid. He tries. By God, does he try.  Kills me how hard he tries. As excruciating as it is to see your child fail and fall, it is a glorious moment when you see them dust themselves off and give it another go. And then another. And yet another.  He’s scared.  He knows it- we all know it, the obvious awkward elephant roaming the bleacher benches of parental spectators.  Sports are not his forte, but he still shows up. Still makes the play. Takes that shot. That’s my boy.

Through all his awkward fumbling, this funny little man has taught me about resilience, about spirit, and mostly about heart. He knows he’s not the best on the team and still without a doubt, he keeps his smile. Each and every time. He may not be a  natural sporto, but he is such a good sport.

This past week he started volleyball. He hadn’t a clue how the game is played and has been struggling. With his hands stoically clenched on the court, in his statuette bump ready steady position, he stares at the net with such intensity it kills me. He had a game at 10 this morning and then another at 3, so in the interim we headed to Sports Authority to pick up a volleyball and extra socks. We also bought a red sweat headband, purely because it made us laugh. After a quick lunch at Corner Bakery, we ventured back home and began bumping the ball against the bricks of our house.  We shared more laughs than successful serves, but he never quit.

At the three o’clock game, he had two successful bumps. Two successful bumps and two near net serves. The second of the successful bumps went over the net. At that moment a roar erupted from the crowd, and as ridiculous as it is, I had tears in my eyes.  That unspoken roaming elephant rallied the troops. We all knew what a spectacular triumph that small moment was. The near net serves ignited a similar harmonious, Oooooooohhh!!  with even more encouraging cheers from the excited crowd.

See, I know we all know that sports are more than just promoting athletic skill. Sports are about encouraging social skills and coaching kids on lessons about team work, perseverance, grit, resilience, and the spirit.

Here is where my man reigns. He may not make the lay-up shot, or that bulleted ace serve just yet. But I know that he’s got spirit and a heart that won’t resign, and for that, he’s such a champion in my eyes.

Mike headband

Game Face!

Categories: Uncategorized


16 replies

  1. from one non-sporty mom to another—I love your post! “But I know that he’s got spirit and a heart that won’t resign, and for that, he’s such a champion in my eyes.” YES!

  2. Sorry, I have to rub my eye first – must have something in it. Having been there with one child, it is so hard not to want to boff some of these so entitled parents. Yet your little guy GETS it – he is the champion. He will go far and be far more successful in life and happier than those supposed aces. Such a heartwarming story. Your sun is lucky to have you.

  3. I love your post! You have such a way with words. I was laughing at your mama claws and the pee wee league princess asides, but mostly I was moved by your love for your son and his endurance, grit and good sportsmanship. His gifts are clear for all to see–unless perhaps their Dunkin Donuts cup is in the way.

  4. I love that he tries. I love even more that you love & support him in this!

    One only child mother to another. It drives me nuts when people blame something my child does on her being an only child.

  5. I.LOVE.THIS. You captured this so perfectly! My favorite line is, “He may not be a natural sporto, but he is such a good sport!” I felt tears spring to my eyes when the volleyball went over the net; and for the record, that is the coolest headband ever.

  6. Ah yes, my daughter was the same way, then she fell in love with basketball and made it her mission in life. She’s come a long way certainly, and she loves being on a team, so we sit on those bleachers and try not to wince sometimes.

  7. This is so, so great!!! I loved reading every word of this piece. I could totally relate as I was never an athletic person, but that’s where my connection ended. I didn’t persevere. I quit. I am so proud of your son – I am so happy for you. What a wonderful young man you’ve raised. xoxo

  8. Great slice! Love the line about him not being a sporto but being a sport – so true and even more important! I love that you are there to support him and are not crushing his fun and learning. This story made my heart smile! I enjoyed reading about you picking out the red headband and bumping against the brick while laughing.
    He is one lucky kid and a cute one! 🙂 Great job mama!

  9. I’m sooooo glad you are encouraging your son to have fun!!!! So many parents get too involved and end up making fools of themselves while watching their kids play! Good for you!!!

  10. Neither of my boys are athletic and don’t even pretend to be. They are readers and band kids. The one sport we have is my oldest is in archery. A team sport you play individually. 🙂 We too are ok with not being athletic. 🙂

  11. Perseverance is much more important than any physical skill related to sports. Your son is going to grow up to be such a strong man!

  12. Such a great piece! I don’t know why other parents can’t be supportive of other children and/or their parents. Your son is lucky to have you. I’m sure he tries really hard with every thing he puts his mind to. You should feel really proud!

  13. Oh, man! I can totally relate to every word. I was that mom…of THREE kids who were never the stars. All they wanted to do was play. So I willingly took them to practice and sat through their games because I knew then what you know now. That our job is to support them and not squash their effort. Bravo to you and all the moms you speak for!

  14. I loved this piece! You are doing everything right as a parent by encouraging and supporting your son. He is doing his best every time and that is what is truly important. I may need to borrow this piece in the future to remind parents why we sign our children up for sports in the first place – to have fun and be with friends. It is not always about the WIN!

  15. This is so great!!! My mama claws came out immediately when I was reading about Pee Wee Princess, Condescending Khaki Capried Momster, as I too have had to deal with this person.!!!But, mama, you’ve got this covered. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and he will continue to develop into the kind of man that will contribute great things to our world…..In my mind, your guy is already a big winner….and have a very cute “game face”.

  16. “He may not be natural sporto, but he is such a good sport.” That’s probably my fav line in a DAMN PERFECT PIECE. Again, I’m on the catch-up train today and commenting all over the place, but I could see him doing all these ill-fated sportsy outings and god love the enthusiasm he has for freakin life. Now back to this post – Momster? Brilliant. Your writing is brilliant.

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