Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I think if you asked anyone I went to school with if I was a cheerleader, they would immediately and emphatically answer "No." I don't mean a cheerleader in the traditional sense, but just a student/person who lived for the school games and knew at least a few of the players by number and statistics.

Despite that, once The Boy started team sports (at my insistence after he showed very little interest all the way up to 5th grade), I have loved every minute of cheering him on and his teammates at games and meets. With soccer, it was almost as if you acquire a new, extended family. I liked knowing all of their names and cheering them on specifically. Perhaps the boys thought it was odd that someone not their mom was cheering them on, but I didn't mind. Now that The Boy is in his second year of cross country, I am going to make an bigger effort to learn their names as well. With 60 teammates, as opposed to 15, it will be a little tougher, but some I already know, and I am sure I will get the rest as well.

The boys after a muddy game.

I find it immensely enjoyable to watch these kids push themselves, acquire new skills, and achieve their goals. I don't think it makes me yearn for my days of youth, but rather I feel proud and excited for them. They have so much left to do, and this is just one achievement. They are forming friendships that could last forever. Even if they don't realize it yet, team sports can play a significant role in their development. (Sadly, the Park District's current practice is to reshuffle all of the soccer players every two grade years which means all of that bonding gets disrupted. *sigh*)

The varsity race begins.
I don't subscribe to the parent-coaching from the sidelines. I like the idea of letting the coaches do their jobs, but that doesn't mean parents should never hang out at practice or only show up to the convenient games/meets. Think of it as an opportunity to be an outsider to your child's life, if just slightly. Observing them from this perspective is a rare opportunity to view them as the individual they are, in their little microcosm of the world. It can be pretty neat. (Not to mention watching them change over the years.)

The boys in 2010.
The boys in 2009.
So, if you are at any park district soccer games or cross country meets with Unit 4 schools, and you see a mom taking pictures and cheering on what appears to be her dozens of children; that's me. But I just have the one Boy. (Though how much do I love that his games and meets give me the chance to practice my photography? Tons.)

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