Whether before or after college, when your kids are done playing sports, there’ll be things you miss, because there’s nothing quite like watching your child grow, fail, overcome and succeed in the game.
These are the things I miss now that my kids are 24,27 and 30 years old. Will you miss them too?
• 1.) The pure joy of that “first” – first touchdown, first tackle, first interception. Watching their faces light up, I felt the first as much as they did.
• 2.) Their joy with small victories. Sometimes the youth sports road gets rocky, and there are days when kids forage through a lot of junk to find a small triumph. When they do, it’s often enough to keep them playing.
• 3.) Those overcoming moments. When my kids’ team was an underdog, when they felt their coach doubted them, or worse yet, when they doubted themselves, seeing them rise above and overcome was pure joy to me. Seeing them fight hard and achieve success thrilled me.
• 4.) Crazy car rides. I loved listening to my kids and their friends when I drove them to games and tournaments. I loved hearing them laugh, sing and chatter.
• 5.) The result of their hard work and patience. Each one of my kids fought for a starting spot on varsity, and believe me, it wasn’t an easy fight. The pride I felt as I watched them take the field or court often brought tears to my eyes.
• 6.) Camaraderie. Crazy parents aside, there were plenty of sports parents that I truly enjoyed. We have such fun memories of hanging out with the other families. Watching our kids enjoy their teammates was all part of the joy of youth sports.
• 7.) Big victories. It was always fun when the big wins came. When my daughter’s volleyball team beat a rival in the playoffs, a squad they lost to three times in the regular season. When my son’s football team won a hyped-up, intense game. When my daughter’s softball team beat their crosstown rival. Let’s be honest, as much as we don’t want to play with the dangerous win-at-all-cost mentality, winning is still fun.
• 8.) The accolades. Every parent loves to hear good things about their kid, and even if my children didn’t get an award for the season, hearing their coaches praise their attitude and work ethic always made me proud.
• 9.) The anticipation. Of a new season or a big game. I loved waking up and thinking, “Today is the day.” I loved going to work, knowing that I would be off early to go watch my child play.
• 10.) Game-time joy. There was a reason I was at so many of my kids’ games. I simply loved watching them play.
How about it, Mom and Dad? What will be the thing you miss the most when your child is done with playing sports?
Janis B. Meredith is a sports parenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about good sports parenting habits in her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents, available on Amazon.