When I first met Martha she was the varsity coach for her small High School alma mater’s basketball team. She also coached their softball team. And I, being a good and supportive girlfriend, attended as many games as I could.
She gave up coaching when our first daughter was born, but as soon as Beaner could hold an object she was given small squishy basketballs and hoops. By the time Beaner and Peachie were 3 they were enrolled in toddlers’ soccer and I began the first of many, many years of bleacher sitting. They were always 3 sport, 3 season athletes and as they got older they also played on travel and AAU teams. Spring sometimes included 3 sports at the same time, often with the two girls going in opposite directions. My life became dominated by watching my daughters do something with a ball. Can you tell that I wasn’t thrilled? I was immensely proud of them and the hard work they put in. But really? Wasn’t there more to life than putting a ball in a hoop? I was obviously missing the competitive gene that the rest of my family has, on steroids. In fact, I was the bad mother who would just assume see our team lose than to go into overtime. Go ahead and judge me but after spending hours sitting in a cold sleety October rain, you’d want to go home too.
I was secretly thrilled when Beaner decided not to play basketball in college. Of course, I couldn’t say that out loud but wow, what a luxury it was to only have Peachie playing. She had a great high school senior year with many accolades and awards and I thought it would all end on a high note. Until she got recruited to play field hockey in college. Well, at least it was only one sport, for one season. The hard part was that now instead of having to travel to high school competitions within a small radius, we were often driving 5 and 6 hours, one way, to watch her play. And then we couldn’t even visit with her because the team had to get on a bus and return. Still, it was only a 12 game season and I was beginning to see the finish line.
College graduation was hard as Peachie had to say goodbye to housemates/teammates she had been with for 4 years and to the sport she loved There were lots of tears and I tried hard to look sad too, but deep down I was doing a happy dance. No more bleacher butt! No more bundling up in 12 layers! No more concession stand dinners!
Until Martha was asked to be the JV basketball coach at our high school. I went to a couple games last year, but mostly I spent the season in various medical recoveries that got me out of it. Now Beaner has volunteered to coach a summer basketball league for girls. Okay, a few more summer night games in incredibly hot and smelly gyms. And now Peachie has said yes to coaching our high school varsity field hockey team. Everywhere I go people are congratulating me saying how thrilled they are and how great Peachie will be. And all I can think of is dreading Wednesdays and Fridays, sitting on bleachers, freezing my butt off.
I am a bad mother, I know that. But all I keeping thinking is that this wouldn’t have happened if they just took piano lessons like I wanted them too.