Growing up, my family gathered around the tv each Saturday to watch ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I can still hear the announcer telling us we would witness “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
That about sums up my roller coaster ride of the past 27 years. First, as a coach’s wife—still am—and then 17 years as a sports mom—still am.
Did I mention that I hate, hate, hate roller coasters? There is one very brief second when I am at the top of the ride when I can see forever—if I’m not too scared to look—and that is pretty cool, but the rest of the ride? The agonizingly slow climb takes way too long, and the suicidal drop sends my stomach flying somewhere out into space.
Not my idea of fun.
As a sports mom and wife, I’ve been on that creaky upward roller coaster climb with my husband and children. I know about the hours and days and months of hard work that seem to go on forever. I’ve been with them at the top of the ride in the thrill of victory—which only lasts for a second, but sure feels good—and I’ve taken the freefall ride of discouragement and loss, the agony of defeat, that is bound to come because nobody can stay on top forever.
And, just like a roller coaster, there have been many peaks and valleys. Every year, every season, sometimes every week, is its own roller coaster ride. And sometimes all I can do is pray and hang on.
But you know what’s cool about roller coaster rides? Especially if you ride them often? You become braver, less fearful, ready to take on the next daring adventure. I’ve seen my kids conquer one nauseating coaster and get off ready to up the challenge to an even more daring ride.
And that’s why I don’t regret the ride I’ve been on for over half my life. I’ve seen my husband and my kids grow stronger and more courageous, ready for the next ride, the next challenge.
The roller coaster ride of sports—when ridden correctly—can form character in your children that will help them face the greater challenges of life ahead. Strength, persistence, humility, confidence, teamsmanship—I see these in my kids and I know it’s because of their years of playing sports.
So, if your kid plays sports, enjoy the crazy ride with me as we tackle topics that will help you become a better sports parent. We’ll talk about selfish team mates, demanding coaches, obnoxious parents, ridiculous refs, playing time, winning and losing with integrity—all the issues your kids will face when they play sports. And if you have a topic you’d like me to address, please let me know.
Next time: What should you know before the whistle blows?