Each time I watch you take that field, I remind myself it’s not my game. It’s not my story. It’s not my journey. Here on the sideline, I’m just the spectator to it all. You’re in the driver’s seat of where this youth sports journey takes us, and I’m just along for the ride as long as you’ll have me.
I know one day the ride will be over and it will be time for me to step away. The field will sit empty. I’ll be there alone on the sideline with no athlete to congratulate or console after the game.
The lights will dim as this season of not just your life but mine comes to an end.
I know there will come a time I’d give anything for one more late night washing uniforms, one more morning rising with the sun on the weekends to rush off to the ballfield, one more night rushing home from work just to rush off to another practice.
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There will come a time I’d give anything for one of those mornings when the morning dew was still settling on the grass and we’d either sweat through our clothes by mid-morning in the summer heat or freeze in the fall falling temperatures. I could spend all day on those sidelines and never wish to be anywhere else.
We’d end a long day with the setting sun, but there was no shower like the one that washed off a day’s sweat and dirt from a day well spent at the ball field. We’d all crash in bed practically asleep before our heads hit the pillow, excited to get up and watch you fight through single elimination or the loser’s bracket on Sunday to battle for that championship.
Though championships were not always won on those weekend tournaments the lessons on that ball field weekend after weekend, year after year raised a champion.
It was there you learned to ride the highs and lows of your passions. I watched the times the game made you feel not good enough, and unfortunately, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time you felt like this. But here on the ball field while I stood on the sideline I would watch you learn how to persevere through. I watched you succeed and fail.
It was there on the ballfield you learned not to let the voice of not good enough win. As you conquered your defeats on the field, your confidence in who you were and what you could do grew. You didn’t always win and weren’t always the champion, but you grew a champion’s heart and spirit here on the ball fields of your youth.
I never knew being a cheerleader on the sidelines to your games and your journey would be one of my most cherished roles in this life. Whereas I thought I would want you to play the game I grew up loving, I came to see it really doesn’t matter what game our kids choose. I see now as the parent on the sideline we fall in love with the game you choose because you loved it and made it your game.