Saturday mornings dawn with the luxurious realization that the day belongs to me, my husband, one very self sufficient high school daughter, and two chocolate Labradors. Weekends are no longer dominated by our two kids’ soccer-hockey-lacrosse-football-baseball games- track and swim meets. While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them develop from clumsy little kids just learning the rules of the sports to varsity and even collegiate athletes, I am not mourning the end of that phase of their young lives.
One aspect of youth sports that I will not miss is the dreaded snack schedule. In agreeing to be parent-coaches, we understood that post-game refreshments were a part of the job. Whenever my husband signed on, the administrative duties of the team fell on my non-athletic shoulders. Fortunately, a carton of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins and a dozen juice boxes would suffice for the young athletes. Heaven help the parent who forgot or didn’t understand that it was their day.
A team of hungry, tired t-ball players could morph into a cranky mob-ette quickly once they realized there would be no refreshments waiting after the game.
As our children grew older and became more serious about athletics, they left town sports behind and took their places on travel team rosters. The games became longer as did the distance between venues; an entire weekend day could easily disappear into an away game abyss. Our garage became cluttered with the gear of the sport and the accoutrement of the required refreshments. Saturday mornings were spent loading the car with so many bats and balls and provisions that I felt like we were setting off for a camping trip rather than a double-header baseball game. Once high school stadiums became the arena for competition, we learned that the snack schedule, now the tailgate, fell on the shoulders of the captains’ parents. At the season-ending team dinners, the next year’s leaders were announced. Congratulations were offered to the newly honored players while condolences extended to their parents. So much for the box of Munchkins for our eight year olds; a three course seated dinner for fifty football players – after every game– became the new norm. Oh, my!
Now, on Saturdays, I leisurely read each section of the New York Times and casually scan the sports pages while sipping a second cup of coffee. The Labradors snooze at my feet as I glance at the TV line-up to see if there are any games that might be interesting to watch. Our tailgate? A slice of cold pizza from the take-out dinner my husband and I enjoyed the night before.
How are you feeling about the end of youth sports in your life?