I am a sports mom. I’ve been a dance mom, a swim mom, a gymnastics mom, a soccer mom, and a volleyball mom, until my daughters finally settled on basketball as being their primary sport. Basketball has been my husband’s first love since long before I met him. He played in college, played recreationally for years (though between us, it sounded like those ‘rec’ games at the gym got pretty competitive!) and has owned a basketball training business for nearly 10 years.
I went from adoring girlfriend not really paying attention to the rules and nuances of the game to becoming a superfan and my sports mom title was decidedly shifted to Basketball Mom. Once my girls started playing and I had 3 people in the car rehashing games or sitting on the sofa durning the NBA playoffs giving commentary I began to pay attention. This game became more than my boyfriend’s past time, it became our livelihood and a passion for the 3 people I love most in this world. These are the top 5 things I love about being a Basketball Mom:
I love the feeling of possibility at the beginning of a season. As parents we are so excited to watch our players come together as a team on the court, but we also slowly come together as a team in the stands. I love getting to know the little brothers and sisters. I love arriving at a tournament and scanning the crowd for my people, who I know will cheer with joy for my kid as I will for theirs.
With our team it is our practice to pot luck and tailgate between games. I love love love watching the girls sit in a big circle with all of the food in the middle. They are laughing, someone is playing music, and they are usually laying together in a puppy pile. I love knowing that if I have to be in two places at once one of my fellow parents will be there for my kid.
Post Game Rehashes
The lively conversations that take place as they walk off the court and into the parking lot are my favorite between the players. This is where I get to hear the funny stories about things that happened on the bench or during the game. Where I hear them supporting and building each other up if someone is feeling down about their performance. Some great post game ice cream celebration after this championship pictured to the right. And of course it’s fun to see healthy rivalries emerge, we are competitive after all!
Watching the Grit and Growth of my Players
My girls, and most of the girls on their teams, are lovely and sweet kids that will ask me about my day when they see me or will compliment me on my outfit. But when they are playing, they play to win. Things can get physical on the court and there are times that the Mama Bear peeks out making me want to defend my child, and my kids never need it. They have learned grit as they have gained experience as players.
A couple weekends ago we were at a tournament and after one particularly physical game I asked my daughter how she was doing after the game. Her response was “they played physical, but they weren’t dirty. I like playing them!” I honestly don’t even remember which team won, I am just happy that her takeaway was that tough competition is fun.
When they have a bad game where you and they know they just didn’t play their best that Mama Bear wants to peek out again with some sort of ultra positive declaration of “You were great!” in order to make them feel better. But they don’t need that either. They are generally their own worst critics, but they are now learning to take their mistakes, evaluate what they need to change, and to move on. How wonderful is that? I need to take a lesson.
Time in the Car To And From The Game
There are days where the last thing I want to do is stop what I’m doing and hop in the car to drive one or more kids to practice, but the truth is that this time is priceless. I have had the most honest conversations with my kids when we are alone in the car.
I truly believe the fact that I’m driving so no eye contact is required has allowed them to open up to me more on those drives. When my car is full I get to appreciate how completely hilarious teen girls can be. I also get insight as to what is going on in their lives and how they react to the social situations in their world. There is something sad about losing that time when they get older and are able to drive themselves.
End of Season Speeches
This is the most bittersweet of all of my favorite things, when the coach gathers the team to have the last post game talk. Sometimes as parents we are lucky enough to be included and we get to hear how the coach feels the girls and the basketball team has grown. Sometimes we just hear the recap in the car afterward, but even if we can’t hear what’s being said the body language always warms my heart. The fact that we have spent HOURS, days, weekends together and it is all coming to an end can be a let down. We know that some of the girls will continue to play together, but this moment in time is ending. This exact team has finished their run and will not go to war again on the court. There always seems to be a team hug and a few hastily wiped tears from both parents and players.
I am lucky in that I have one daughter that will be continuing her basketball career at Macalester College. I plan on being the Basketball Mom that shows up to games in school colors with homemade cookies for the team.
My youngest daughter began her high school basketball career in the fall. I will have at least one more year of her captive in my car on the way to practice. They both will forever know that I am their biggest fan.
And now, thanks to my people, I can watch an NBA game and actually have an idea as to what is going on.