One of favorite things about youth sports is the interaction that my wife and I have at games with other parents.
At the football field, we’ll give each other high fives when our team scores. There are times when other parents will come over and say, “Bradley made a nice block.” We’ll go over to other parents and say, “That was some catch by Joe.” There have always been handshakes, pats on the back and even hugs. We’ve been through it all from the beginning.
We’ve been fortunate to be involved with some great groups of parents who are so supportive of one another and all of the kids on the team. It’s special when a parent will come up to us and complement our child when he does something good on the field. Of course, we do the same with other kids on the team. Just like with football, there are high fives, handshakes and pats on the back and hugs.
No matter what the youth sport is, the interaction among parents is very important to establishing a great atmosphere. However, when sports return after the pandemic is under control, I do believe that all that will change. Given the emphasis on public health and safety, the behavior and habits of parents may be a little different.
I realized that this past weekend.
It was such a nice day in our community on Long Island that Sheryl and I decided to bring the boys to one of our neighborhood little league fields to have some fun pitching and hitting. As we pulled up the field, we had the idea to call a close family of ours to join us – while social distancing, of course.
It was a blast to have them around. The boys had not seen each other in quite some time, and it was great for us to see the other parents. But this was not like other get togethers at the baseball field. There were no high fives, no pats on the back, no handshakes, no hugs and no mischief on the field with kids being kids. It was the new normal, especially for the parents and you know what…it really wasn’t so bad.
Later that night when we were home watching television, I admitted to my wife that today was different, but really enjoyed seeing the other family. It was fun for the parents to be able to strike up conversation and talk about what has been going on. I sounded like a broken record all night saying there has to be a way to get these kids back on the field and to get the parents in the bleachers to cheer them on.
The games will return at some point, but it’s going to be different – and not just on the field. The interaction between the parents will be different and that will take some getting used to. But the one thing that shouldn’t change is the enthusiasm.
I can’t wait for sports to come back and to share all of these great moments again with other parents.
Peter is a sports anchor for the CBS Sports Radio Network, FOX News Headlines 24/7 and WCBS 880 Radio in New York. His son Bradley plays middle school football on Long Island and is a participant in the U.S. National Team program while his younger son Jared plays flag football. Peter, his wife Sheryl and the boys are busy cheering on the New York Jets when they’re not at a youth football field.
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