Notes From a Whiny Sports-Hating Mom

soccer, i hate sports, sports-hating momYeah, that's me. I hate sports. I mean, I love and respect that other people love sports, but I hate sports myself. I don't like playing them (never have), and I don't really like watching sports (unless there's some really good food involved).

Why then, you ask, do I sign up my son for sports? Well, mostly because I don't want him to grow up to be a sports hater too.


Elementary school "field day" was the day of all days in grade school that I loathed school the most. I have always been short (still am), smaller than my peers, and as non-athletic as they come. And here was a day designed entirely around athletic competition. Ugh. Let's just say no ribbons were coming home with me. (I tried to be thankful it was only one day a year; think of the kids who hated spelling — which I loved — spelling took place every week!)

In any case, while I hate athletics, I've always had a secret longing to be a more athletic person, mostly because athletics-hate also translates to exercise-hate. Exercise is not something I want to hate, but I was never conditioned to appreciate it. And, it seems, most the people I know who grew up playing sports don't mind exercise as much as I do. They may not do it every day, but they don't hate the idea of sweat and lung burn like I do.

And then I married a non-athlete too!

That said, I signed up my oldest son Clyde for baseball the first spring he could play and then for soccer the following autumn. We're on our second round of soccer now. At this early point in the season, practices are hot and sweaty, and I spend much of my time chasing around my younger son Leo and getting hotter and sweatier than I want to. See? I told you I was whiny about this stuff.

During the sports seasons, we rush from finishing homework to picking up Leo at preschool to the practice field. Then we all get sweaty and turn around, come home, eat dinner, bathe, read, and go to bed. It feels like there's no time on those nights to just "be." On top of that, there are the games on the weekend and some scrimmages scheduled here and there.

I can't even imagine what it will be like when I have two kids playing sports and there are even more practice days. Another mom of two just told me last season they only had Friday and Sunday open on the family calendar due to sports. And every week, I watch as another mom drops off one son to practice, leaves, drives her other son to practice at another location, and then turns around and does the pick ups.

Again, you ask, why are you doing this then?

Well, when I watch Clyde run up and down the length soccer field, every week he is more and more in his body than he has ever been. There are even moments of grace. Suddenly, he knows what he's doing. What the goal of the game is. He's watching and learning from his coaches and his teammates. And more than anything, he is making his body do what bodies are meant to do: run, stretch, play, leap, and bend. His lungs and heart are pumping. His hair gets wet with sweat.

And he does not complain one single ounce. Often, he looks, well, sort of satisfied. And that's why we are doing this.

I might whine and complain to kingdom come about the hard work of sports (usually just to my husband and girlfriends), but my son doesn't. In fact, so far, he really loves playing baseball and soccer. Perhaps he is on his way to finding the natural body-mind connection I have always dreamed of finding.

Are your kids in sports? Why or why not? How do you feel about sports?


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