I am becoming adept at driving to the high school/middle school complex in our town, picking up children from practices, depositing them at their respective homes and going back for more. I seem to be making constant circles from my house to the kids' schools, to friends houses and then back - at least two trips per afternoon are required, unless it is a meet day - then all bets are off.
I have to admit to being one of those mom's who screams at meets. And mutters. And whispers. I watch my son take off in a cross country race and I yell for him to go fast, stay with the pack, etc. Then as he gets out of ear shot I whisper at him to, "stay on the course", "don't stop to pet someone's dog" or plain old, "Don't Stop." He has a tendency to get lost on the cross country trails at away meets. He really does stop in the middle of a race to pet any dog he sees. Sometimes, he really just stops, and walks or talks to himself.
Winning is not important to him. He is just thrilled to be part of the team. We are thrilled he has this wonderful team to be a part of. Every child on this team has, in some way, aided, encouraged, guided or taught my son. There are runners on other teams who now know him and cheer him on, even if he is in last place (which he is, most of the time), because he does that for all the other runners on every team in every race, until every runner comes in. I must admit, seeing that is more gratifying than seeing him bring home a trophy.
I did not get to today's meet, but my husband said that the star runner on the girls' cross country team had placed folks along the route to keep our son on the course and focussed. He came in ninth place. He said there were only nine of them running, but it doesn't matter, ninth sure sounds better than 73rd.
This year I have made it to my daughter's home swim meets - a sport I am more familiar with as three of my four sisters were on swim teams when we were growing up. I know the swimmers cannot really hear us yelling while they are racing (except possibly those swimming breast stroke, as their heads bob up), but last week I screamed myself hoarse encouraging the girls to pull, kick and get your arms up! It is gratifying to see my daughter comfortably in a group of peers, advancing in her sport (second place in butterfly two weeks ago!!!) and really enjoying herself.
Was I a huge sports advocate BC (before children)? No. Am I now for a wide variety of reasons - oh yes.