Well it is finally here……after 20+ years of taking my four children to their hockey, baseball, soccer, track and field and cross-country practices and games, it all came to an end last night after my youngest daughter’s last soccer game of the season. Minor sports are over. Am I sad?…..A little, but I’m pretty sure I will be able to find something to fill the void.
Growing up, my siblings and I were not involved in playing sports other than school sports, so when I had my first baby I gave no thought to the possibility that I would one day be a hockey/baseball/soccer Mom.
When my son was born he already had some older cousins who were involved in sports, mainly hockey. I remember taking him to the arena to watch his cousins hockey games when he was about two years old, not because I was interested in watching a sport I basically knew nothing about, but because if I wanted to visit with any of my brothers or sisters-in-law during the winter months that’s where they were so that’s where we visited. I hated the arena, it was cold, smelly and loud. I said over and over my kids were not ever playing hockey because I had no intention of spending my time hanging out in a freezing cold arena like my in-laws did. Let’s not kid ourselves here, we can all be in complete control of what our kids do, where they go, who they see……right up until they start school, make friends and get their own ideas of what they want to do, and that’s how it was for me. Ryan decided he wanted to play hockey and since he had all the necessary gear handed down to him from his cousin’s, who was I to stand in the way of his minor hockey career? I ate my words over and over as three of my children ended up playing hockey, one at rep level, three played soccer, again one at rep level, three played baseball, and one did track and field and cross-country running.
Over the years when all four kids were playing sports at the same time there were some hectic evenings and some creative planning to get them all where they needed to be and on time. With only one vehicle to do the transporting it got a little crazy by times. We had evenings when we had to drop off our oldest with his brother at the ball field early, (before any other parents or coaches were there) then take our oldest daughter to her soccer field and wait until at least one other parent showed up, scoot to our youngest daughter’s t-ball field and one of us would stay with her while the other one went back to the first field to pick up our oldest son to get him from his brother’s baseball game or practice (which had now started) and take him to his ball field for his game, and then hurry back to watch our youngest daughter’s game and as soon as it was over rush off to the next child’s game see what we could have of it and move on until we managed to catch as much of each one as we could and get them all collected and back home again. Those nights were memorable indeed, it meant a quick supper at home right after work, that was pre-prepared or take-out (we ate a lot of take-out, I’m not really ambitious enough to be a pre-preparer of meals). We missed a lot of some of their games but took in as many as we could of each of them. There were a few snags in our system, like forgetting to pick up our daughter from a soccer game, arriving at the wrong field for a game and rushing around to try to figure out where we were supposed to be, and things like that, but we generally managed to make it work.
I will say my years as a “sports Mom” were very entertaining and educational. It took so long for me to figure out what an “off-side” was in hockey. Every time the referee blew the whistle I asked whoever was beside me what it was for (I’m sure I was the most annoying “new” sports mom ever), I eventually figured it out along with many other infractions of the game, thanks to the patience of the other parents who took the time to explain it to me……over and over. Of course once the off-side in hockey was figured out I was stumped by how anyone could be off-side in soccer…..I saw no line on the field to indicate an off-side.
I have to admit that the last few years have been a little easier with just one child in sports, however she was involved in Rep Hockey, Rep Soccer, Track and Field and competitive Cross Country running all at the same time, so while we just had the one child to transport, there were just as many places to transport her to and sometimes there were conflicts where we would need to take her to a hockey game right after a soccer practice or vice versa.
It is true what they say, your kids sports become your social life. My husband and I have met some really great people, and made some good friends over the years at the arena, soccer field, the track and cross-country races. When you spend a couple of hours at least twice a week, every week, with the same people you definitely build friendships. We will miss this as much as we will miss watching our kids play their sports with the skills and passion that gave them the desire to play in the first place.
Now that the days of living our lives based on kids sports schedules have come to an end my husband and will finally have some “us” time. I think it might take me a while to adjust to not having to plan out every evening meal depending on how much time we have before having to be somewhere, but I’m ready to start getting used to it. I say bring on the next chapter of my life……maybe there will be some grand-kids in our future and we can start watching sports all over again. 🙂