April 2021


sport-focused and less child-focused. When he hit his first home run off the tee, I thought I had won parenting. It was exhilarating! As he rounded third for home, his little face was so precious. He knew he had done something well, and that brought him joy. My face was as tear drenched as it was aggressively proud. People had to help me sit back down in my lawn chair! Let’s just say, Jack may have had more grace about his success than I did. Each season brought new challenges and necessary shoes. Good grief! We even had to buy new cleats in the middle of a season because Jack’s feet were growing so quickly. Just as a side note: he is currently twelve years old and wears a size 12 men’s shoe. That’s how that works, right? Age = Shoe size? We go big or go home at the Sarine household. Foot-growth aside, I also noticed that he was developing competitiveness and ways of handling conflict that Ross and I were not intentionally teaching him. Not only was he enjoying his own successes, but he was finding that he enjoyed seeing his teammates excel, as well. If one of his teammates got a great hit, made a basket, scored a goal, or snagged a flag, Jack would run over for a high-five, or a chest-bump, to celebrate with his teammate. If somebody got in his way, or didn’t pass the ball, he was learning to get over the frustration more and more quickly and with fewer tears. He was also learning to be a good sport. At the end of the game, when the scoreboard did not read like we wanted, he was learning that it wasn’t the end of the world; improvement could be made to change the outcome on the next trip out. Through sports, Jack was developing a number of character traits that Ross and I hoped he would embody as an adult. Another aspect of sports I really enjoy is the comradery with teammates and their parents. Some seasons, teams are amazingly talented and have great synergy. Victory is almost a given each week. This is so fun, especially for the competitive parents out there. (I, myself, am a card-carrying member of the HCPC [Hyper Competitive Parent Club] and proud of it!) Other seasons lead to more of a character-building exercise with losses outnumbering wins. Both cases are excellent opportunities to bond with your child’s friends and their parents. Some of my dearest friends have been made on the sidelines of a ball field as we cheer and encourage the kids, each as if our own. If you have ever been part of a team with really good parents, you know that those people truly love your

photo by Maddy Green

kiddo too. I end up wanting success for Jack’s teammates as much as I want it for him. It is a unique and valuable aspect of team sports. As I write this, we are gearing up for our spring sport of choice: baseball. I’m so looking forward to it. The smell of freshly cut grass clippings, dirt, microwaved, canned nacho cheese, leather gloves and adolescent b.o. define springtime for our family. While my time on the couch will be lessened in the coming weeks, my time with my family, both immediate and “team-mediate” will be rich and plentiful. So, here’s to a season with a good combination of winning and character-building because those are what make sports-momming sooooo worth it!


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