Friday, December 15, 2006

What is she thinking?

I try not to judge other parents. I really, really do. I'm so painfully not perfect that I am in no place to judge anyone. I lost it with the boys in the middle of a gift shop at the Kennedy Space Center a few summers ago. It was so bad my husband commented the people were staring at me. I was blind with rage. No one was hit but I can still remember my fury from the constant complaining and nagging. Of course, I should have been the grown-up and stayed in control. I admit this because I know I wouldn't win any best parenting awards.

Two boys joined the basketball team this past Saturday. One seemed to have played before and was very comfortable handling the ball. He consistently made baskets, passed the ball to other players and played defense with confidence.

The other guy was sobbing as his mother brought him onto the court. He cried as she put on his team t-shirt. He sobbed as she sat him down in the team circle. "He's afraid he doesn't know anything and will make mistakes".

Uhhhhh...... you're kidding, right? I'm thinking.

She then walks out of the room. Leaving me with 10 other kids and her sobbing son. After explaining we would practice for 1/2 an hour then play our first game for 1/2 hour, everyone lined up with a basketball to practice dribbling. The other kids start bouncing the balls. Some lost control of the balls while others banged into their teammates. All done with earnest seriousness and concentration. It was beyond adorable.

The sobbing kid let go of the ball to dribble and it bounced off his foot. He simply crumbled. He couldn't see through the tears. Where was his mother? In another room talking to a parent. I scooped him up and charged out of the gym. The mother looked at me like I was doing something wrong.

"I'm alone with ten other kids. I cannot give him the attention he needs especially since he doesn't seem to want to be on the court. You need to keep him until he's ready to join us."

What I really wanted to say was:

If you were a better mother you would have stayed near him and not put me and the other kids in this awkward situation. Maybe you wouldn't have signed him up since he has been a basket case on other sports teams (we coaches talk to each other). Why don't you find something he's comfortable with. A different sport. A completely different activity. Don't make him suffer.

Of course, I didn't say any of that. Before the game I went back into the other room to check on him and he was rolling the ball with a friend's younger sibling. He looked really happy. When I asked if he wanted to come and join us his lip started to quiver. And I bolted.

Let's see how tomorrow goes.


Jenn said...

I hate parents who think that there kids need to be involved in a billion activities, including ones they are not interested in. Let them be kids and do stuff they like doing! Like making mud pies!

And don't use 'fun' activities as an excuse for you to have a social hour, damnit.

My mom let me quit girl scouts because I didn't want to wear the ugly uniform. I think I turned out better because of it.

Kate said...

What happened to the fun of sports??? Things have really changed.

maggie said...


Mombat said...

You did the right thing! Coaching is not babysitting. What was she thinking?

Anonymous said...

I was that Kid (long time ago). I know from experience the severe harm the mom is causing. This kid may be a book or music type not physical. I can guarantee that this boy will hate all to do with sports the rest of his life.

He was too imature emotionally and physically to compete in THIS way. It may not be all Mom, I suspect that Dad is a repressed jock. It is sad when parents are more concerned with their own dreams than their kids real selves.