And So It Begins...Again
A very large part of my life has revolved around sports. My dad was the athletic director at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and also coached their women's basketball team. We spent hours shivering under blankets watching soccer games, months sitting in the bleachers at basketball games and many exciting times watching knock-down, drag-out fights…I mean hockey.
When we moved to Augusta, Dad took a teaching and coaching job at a Catholic high school. Even though the school was thirty minutes from our house, I spent a lot of time in that gym as well.
In the midst of all of this my brothers entered the world of sports themselves and yes, we went to their games too. Once I got into high school, I joined the crowd. If my family does one thing great, it is that we are there for each other. Whether it was an under 8 soccer game or the league championship varsity basketball game, someone was there to watch us. No matter the distance, frequency, timing or sacrifices involved, someone from the family was in the stands.
When my dad started coaching my brothers, I sat on the bench with him to keep stats (which actually meant trying to keep my dad from getting kicked out of the game - college coach in high school leagues doesn't always work well). Even when my baby brother, Kevin played in high school after I had Mackenzie, I dragged her along with me to all of his games.
When he graduated, I took a long-needed break from the sports' world. I went to some homecoming games here and there but for the most part I was happy not to have my time revolve around the game schedules.
I have been rather happily sitting at home watching my neighbors pile into school buses and leave town for games. As my own kids have grown up, we've ventured into backyard soccer, elementary league basketball and Y flag football. All have been positive and fun experiences. The games happen once a week and practice is as often. All of it happens in the comfort of our neighborhood. All of them have had seasons no longer than a month or two.
That is, until now. Now we have a daughter in middle school and she's playing volleyball on the school's team. They practice almost daily at school and have games about twice a week. Friday was the first game and when I walked into that gym all I could think was, "And so it begins again." Suddenly I saw the next 15 or 16 years of my life: hours on the phone figuring out schedules, carpools, and game times; dinners thrown together quickly or eaten in the gym; homework completed in the wee hours after all day games; miles and miles in the car traveling to the games; kids on three different teams all with games on the same day. This is not divination, it's a fact. I know it because I've lived it all of my life.
What I also know are all the benefits gained from playing team sports. I know how much it means to know your parents were there to see your game winning shot as well as the missed goal that let the victory slip out of your hands. You love knowing they're there, even when you think you're too cool to tell them that.
And you know what, when you're in it for the long haul you don't think about all the time you spend on it. Actually, it’s really fun. I love cheering for my kids. I'm kind of loud and don't care.
So yes, I'll be at all those games (and I’m guessing my mom and dad will be there too) because, well, that's how I roll.