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Family Ban on Competitive Sports

I’ve decided to institute a family-wide ban on competitive sports, effective from now until there’s a major increase in poise and maturity in this household. Oh, the kids are fine. Laylee likes to remind me, “It’s just a game. You can choose to be happy, Mom. Stop stressing out.”

I’m the one with the problem. I work with a group of teenage girls at church, who recently went through a basketball tournament with some other congregations from surrounding towns. The girls are all sweet, many of them friends with their opponents, and they generally play a fairly civilized game.

When they made it into the semi-finals, I took Laylee to watch them play. It was a great game, the teams evenly matched, the score always close. Something in me sort of snapped. I wanted them to succeed and feel good about themselves. I wanted the fouls to be called fairly. If I didn’t think the refs were being impartial, it took every ounce of my self-control to avoid jumping from my seat and voicing my displeasure.

I yelled at the girls…encouragingly. I cheered them on and clapped when they scored, supportively if a bit fanatically. My heart was racing. My chest was constricted. I was a super-fan, of 15-year-old girls that I’m not even related to, playing in a church basketball game.

I was suddenly grateful that I live in a city without an NBA or NHL team in it and don’t currently have cable. I. CAN. NOT. TAKE. THE. STRESS.

The next week was the final game, played against the same team, the conclusion of a double elimination tournament. I didn’t bring Laylee, not sure I could maintain my dignity and not wanting her to witness me in complete meltdown mode. I just wanted them to CALL SOME FOULS. I just wanted our girls to make their baskets. I just wanted GOOD “D”. I just wanted them to DRIVE, DRIVE, TAKE IT TO THE HOLE.

Some friends sitting next to me and I were actually shushed by one of the refs who warned us to “simmer down.” I simmered, sort of on a low boil, and thought, “Wow! These aren’t even my own kids. If Laylee or Magoo were playing in a game like this for the state title on their high school basketball team, I’d get thrown out of the game and they’d have to cart me off in an ambulance due to the coronary I was having.

The weird thing is I’m not even a jock. At all. I barely know the rules of the game and I certainly can’t play it any better than a drunken 3-year-old, but I sure can’t keep my mouth shut when other people are playing.

No. I think competitive sports are out for my kids until I’ve grown up a whole lot.

You soccer moms and basketball dads, how do you keep your cool watching your kids play in nail-biting games? Do you keep your cool or embarrass yourselves like I did?

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