What I Learned as a Flag Football Mom

My kids just finished a three month excursion in sports. To be more specific, they’ve been playing football on a team at the Y. This didn’t require a lot of our family. The price was right, that was for sure (roughly $50 bucks a kid). It was only an hour out of our busy week, and the kids had a lot of fun. It was a new experience, being the mother of a kid in sports.

I never played sports as a kid. I wanted to, even signed up to be on the volleyball team for my JR ROTC class. But there was always something standing in the way. Mom didn’t have time, or didn’t want to have time, to take me to practices. It was too expensive.  Those sorts of things. I think this was largely why I was so eager for the girls to play.

This, of course, means that my kids had never A. played on a team. B. Been expected to follow orders in a high pressure situation. C. Played foot ball at all. I honestly think this was the first time they’d held a football.

The first few practices were painful to watch. The other kids had experience. They were faster, taller, better at this than my girls. It was a co-ed class, too. At this age, that means my kids were bigger than their teammates. This meant that one of my kids at least was mortified at the thought of running into one of the smaller boys.

One of my daughters couldn’t catch. One couldn’t run.

But they got better. And I’ll be honest, not bragging at all, it didn’t take a lot for them to get better. Remember, this was just an hour a week, plus whatever practice we could squeeze into our weeks between dinner and the day job. There wasn’t a lot of that.

Even just that hour a week though, made a significant change in my girls. They got better at every aspect of the game, from running to tackling (pulling someone’s flag off). They run faster and farther now than they could at the start of the season. They’ve also lost some weight. Not a lot, but it’s noticeable. Maybe keep that in mind next time you think you don’t have time to commit to something like writing. It doesn’t take a lot to see results.

I was also surprised by them. I, like most parents, see both the best and worst of my children. My kids aren’t responsible, who is at 12? My kids lose stuff all the time, at important times the most! But they never once didn’t have their uniform ready to go on game day. Right down to their shoes.

My kids also fight. Duh, their twelve year old sisters. And they were playing for opposite teams! But they showed great sportsmanship, and didn’t bring resentments over winning or losing home. Nor did they bring any home bickering to the games. (Though, this did lead to some awkward moments. Like when one child’s first tackle of the season was on her sister.)

They were able to show this level of responsibility because they were part of a team. And that meant something to them.

At the end of the season, when all the kids got their medals of participation, I was sorry to see it go. And, despite my previous opinions of participation trophies, I was happy they got those. They didn’t say they excelled at what they did. They didn’t say they were the best, or that they were super amazing at football. It said they showed up, and they did their best every week.

Maybe if we didn’t focus so much on being the best or nothing, if we all just show up and do our best, we’ll start to see a change in our lives. Just a thought.

If you get a chance, be sure to download Days, and Other Stories. It’s a collection of short stories by me, and it’s totally free. Gumroad books download to the Google Play Book app. DaysAnd Other Stories

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