If you are craving some drama then sign your kids up for sports. Or anything competitive. Make a few friends, particularly seek out the parents that are the friendliest and seem to know everyone because they are the ones that know all of the drama. And then sit back and listen. You’ll feel better about your life afterward…just watch. It’s truly amazing to witness. It’s fodder for comedy shows on TV but it’s real – trust me!
This hockey season, my kids will be driven to the hockey rink 6 days a week…6 days a week – I’m insane. It’s stupid and ridiculous but I love it and wouldn’t change it. At least, for now, both boys play the same sport so we can kill two birds with one stone and only have to go to one ‘practice field’. This also means that I’ll hear about some kind of drama six days each week.
Youth Athletic Parent Personality Types
It really doesn’t matter what the sport is, the drama is always there. And it usually doesn’t come from the kids – it’s from the parents. And when you are involved in multiple sports you’ll find out that there are a few personality types in every parent group at the sport of choice: *The gossip, *The I’ve played this sport all of my life know-it-all, *The yeller/loud one/cheerleader, *The parent that critiques all of the coaches and refs, *The parent that has the ‘perfect’ child, *The parent that is the best at scheduling and overscheduling their kid and they let you know it, *The parent that is living their dreams through their kid, *The parent that is trying to date every single parent that has a kid on the team, and *The parent that rips their seven-year-old a new one when they pass the puck in front of the net.
6 Things to Remember when you Pay those Team Fees
So as you think about signing your son or daughter up for cheer, dance, football, or hockey (or anything else), keep these 6 things in mind to help your son or daughter enjoy every second of their extra-curricular activity of choice:
1. The best advice that anyone has ever given me is that my son(s) will not be playing in the NHL. That’s the first thing that was said during the first parent meeting that I ever attended when my oldest started playing hockey. In my heart, I want my boys to strive for the NHL because it gives them a reason to push themselves but in my head, I remind myself that they are playing for the love of the game and that’s it.
2. I am raising men not hockey players. My little men are people not machines. I need to always remember this. I need to care how they treat others more than how great their backwards skating is. I need to care about their grades more than how much ice time they are getting during games. I need to care about their social skills and social life more than how much extra instruction they need outside of their practice and game times.
3. How your child performs in the sport is not a reflection on you. How they act toward others, ref’s, and their coaches – this is a reflection on you.
4. When your child starts they will not be great. When they are done with a season, they will not be perfect. BUT they will have had fun, they will have more friends, and they will grow their skill set. I promise. You’ll be amazed at where they start and where they end.
Encourage them during and after each practice or each game. Let the coaches be the coaches and let them be the critics. You get to be the cheerleader and photographer. When they get off of the ice, ask if they had fun, mention your favorite move that they made and then drop the ‘shop talk’ unless your kid wants to discuss the game. The more you push, and push, and push early on, the more likely it will be that they’ll want to stop sooner than later.
5. Parents are super duper, times ten, competitive. To some, their kid is the best, so whatever they have to do to push their kid to the forefront they’ll do it, even if that means putting another kid down. BUT the kids just want to go out and have fun. Let them. Stay out of it. Stand back, scroll through Twitter, talk to a few parents about the football game that you’re going to this weekend. You’ll be happier and they’ll be happier. You won’t be consumed with making sure they are pushing themselves to the toughest limit and they won’t be stressed wondering if they will get yelled at when they get off of the ice.
6. Whatever sport your child chooses, the longer that you are involved with that sport or league, the closer you will get to the parents. If you don’t gossip, are supportive of the other teammates, and aren’t ‘that parent’ that gets kicked out of the rink for swearing at a child (this really does happen unfortunately in every youth athletic program), you’ll come to find that the parents that you meet will become family.
I look forward to going to the rink because there are parents there that I have come to know and grow with as our kids get older and more involved with the sport. Some of these people I’ve known for seven years or more and they have become extended family to me and the kids. I look forward to seeing these people, even with all of our flaws (and I’m included in this group). You have to appreciate that not everyone will see everything the same, that rumors fly fast (and the rumors are usually about personal lives), and that another parent (or even you) will say something stupid to a coach, ref, or you that should never have been said. BUT you have to remember that we’re all human. We are all in love with our kids and want the best for our kids. So if you can remember this whenever the drama happens, it won’t seem so bad. I love my hockey family and wouldn’t change things for the world.
You just have to embrace it and all of the personalities that come with being involved in athletics or anything competitive. Once you accept that no one is perfect, including you, and that your kid won’t be winning the gold medal in swimming next week, you’ll have a lot more fun enjoying the ‘ride’.
Bonus Tip: If you are asked to be the “Team Mom”, run, just run, as far away as you can…just trust me.
And btw – in case you didn’t know, my kids are the best hockey players ever and are being recruited now for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just kidding. Not really. Yes, of course I’m kidding.