20 years of sports parent wisdom


The big 2-0

My oldest kid turned 20 years old this week. It’s amazing how quickly that went by, yet how far removed he seems to be from leaving my house. That got me to thinking about all the sports things we’ve been through with him and his brother and sister, and where’s it’s gotten us. Which is broke, mostly, with a lot of old sports equipment laying around. We have learned some things, though, and I thought I’d share them. Not so that you won’t make any mistakes, because I make mistakes all the time and you will, too. I share because, as they say, the best offense is a good defense. Or is it the other way around? I always get that mixed up.

  1. Don’t talk to the goalie’s dad during the game.
  2. Puberty is the great equalizer.

    Miles and Miles

    150,000 and going strong

  3. Everyone deserves a slushee after the game.
  4. You are going to put a lot of miles on your car.
  5. If you took all the money you spent on sports camps and private coaches and invested it, over the years you’d have more money to pay for college than any hoped-for scholarship offers.
  6. When it stops being fun, it should just stop being.
  7. Your kid might not make the travel team. And that’s just fine.
  8. Don’t pay your kid for goals or good grades.
  9. Who you play with is more important than who you play for. (Yes, I know that’s grammatically incorrect but “With whom you play is more important than for whom you play” doesn’t have the same punch.)

    Smiling, sweaty kid

    Sweaty and smiling.

  10. A 6 year old doesn’t need a $200 hockey stick.
  11. A sweaty kid with a smiling face is the sign of a good time.
  12. An accomplished athlete is not a reflection of your parenting skills.
  13. Your kid can carry his or her own equipment bag. Especially if it’s a wheelie bag. Nothing says “overindulged” like a mom pulling a wheelie bag.
  14. A lot of sports success is just plain genetics.
  15. Your kid is not you and might not like the same things you like. Encourage them to do what they like and then cheer your brains out.
  16. Don’t hold your kids back a year in school thinking they’ll be better in sports. They may not even like sports and it probably won’t help, anyway.
  17. The sports community is a small, small world.
  18. You don’t know squat.
  19. Almost everyone is a volunteer, so step up and do your part.
  20. Your player really is trying his best out there. It’s a lot harder than it looks.
  21. At the end of the season, you won’t remember the score of all those games but you will remember the dad who drank waaayyy too much at the tournament. See, you are remembering him right now, aren’t you?


    Have you been hit with the lucky stick?

  22. The best friends you’ll have in the world are the ones at the 6 AM hockey practice, or sharing the umbrella with you on the sidelines during a deluge.
  23. Get the coach a nice gift at the end of the season. And get the coach’s spouse something, too.
  24. At some point, you are going to look ridiculous in the name of team spirit. Enjoy it.
  25. It’s really just exercise. Don’t make too big a deal out of it.
I continue to learn things every day, usually the hard way. Bet you’ve learned some good things, too, so please share in the comments.

6 Comments on “20 years of sports parent wisdom”

  1. Lynne Logan says:

    You hit the nail on the head Trophy Mom! I’ve also learned not to rehash lost games or sub-par performances on the ride home unless the player brings it up. They know when they haven’t played to their potential. Everyone has an off day. It’s important to remind the athlete who’s team didn’t have a great day, that there was at least 1 positive thing that happened during the day….like, did they have fun? Did they get to be with friends? Good exercise makes you feel better no matter if you win or lose. Being on a sports team encourages pride, self esteem, camaradarie and a wonderful feeling of being a part of something larger than yourself. To me, that’s worth the drive and price of admission. (And getting up at 6:00 am on a Sunday!) Other than that, number 18 is my motto!

    Softball Mom

  2. Great advice, Softball Mom. Sometimes it’s hard to find that one positive thing but it’s always there if you look for it. There are so many positives when you look at the big picture, like you mentioned, the pride, self esteem and being part of a team. Thanks for your comment!

  3. As a coach’s wife for 28 years, I especially like #23!

  4. Everything you said is so true. I would add “don’t let the other lunatic parents get to you.”. My kids, now 21 and 19, competed all through their childhoods – and I have to tell you, the most competitive, nutso parents were the show choir parents! Being the parent of a high school football player takes nerves of steel too. I for one am glad my days as a “trophy mom” (great name by the way) are over. Great post!

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