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Sports Moms: Plan Ahead To Avoid Stress

Frazzled & late

At exactly 12:30, my porch bell rang. It was Janice. She was in a panic. She asked whether I had a pair of size seven soccer shoes, because Nicholas couldn't find his anywhere. "I ran up to his school but the door was locked," she said. I told her that I probably had a pair up in the attic, but it would take a few minutes to retrieve them. I looked at my watch and then at Janice's car. Nicholas wasn't in it! I asked why. She said that he had already left for the game with his dad so he could at least show up on time and warm up until she got him some shoes (in other words, he knew that he would be punished by his coach for showing up late so he made sure to get to the game on time).

I said, "Janice, do you know that the game is in Winchester, forty to fifty minutes away, and that Hunter should have left with you guys fifty minutes ago?" She gave me a look as if to say, "What the heck are you talking about? Was I supposed to drive the boys???" Suddenly realizing that she had agreed to drive Hunter, she turned bright red and, trying to save face, said, "Oh, if I hurry, we can still get there before it starts."

Disorganization = Stress

I knew that wasn't going to happen. I told her to take it easy on the way; that it wasn't worth getting into an accident. She pulled out of the driveway and drove off. Dazed, confused and without the shoes she had asked me to find! Five minutes later, she pulled back into the driveway, flung open the car door and ran up to the porch to tell me what I already knew: that she had forgotten the shoes. Since I kept all of the boys' old soccer shoes in their original boxes (they barely get broken in) in the attic, I was able to quickly retrieve a pair of size seven Adidas and hand them off to her like a runner handing off a baton in a relay race. As she ran towards the open door of her car, I called out, "Janice, don't rush! He can be late!" She gave me a wave that said that she would be okay.

Hunter was late, of course, arriving midway through the first half. After running three laps around the field, he was relegated to the bench for the rest of the half. Nicholas was on time, didn't have to run laps, and was allowed to play as soon as he laced up our spare pair of soccer shoes.

I tell this story not to place blame, but to show how stressed out we all can become, and how a failure to be organized has the ability to negatively affect the sports experience for everyone in the family - parent and child.

Adapted from the book, Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (HarperCollins 2006) by Brooke de Lench.

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