I grew up in the day when sports were not a big part of a girl’s interest package. I was rather ambivalent about sports on TV like football and basketball. My dad enjoyed watching and I enjoyed spending time with him, so I watched some too.
In grade school, I played softball for fun and my dad gave me a basketball hoop for my 8th birthday. I don’t remember ever hanging it up but it was a nice gesture. I was a tomboy and my dad’s last chance to have a “boy” in the family. I casually played football with my classmates much to my dad’s frustration. Once I was too old for it to be appropriate to be playing tackle football with the boys I “retired” from the sport.
In Junior High, I played a bit of intramural basketball and enjoyed playing field hockey in gym class. As a High School student, I liked supporting our teams and going to football games. It was more of a social event than a love of the sport. I would say I was mostly a spectator when it came to sports.
When I was in my late thirties, my husband and I had a baby boy. This was a shock for me since he was the only boy in the family at the time. He showed his love of sports early on.
One of his early Christmases, he asked for a Dallas Cowboys uniform that he had seen in a mail-order catalog. After questioning him further, we realized it wasn’t the team he admired but that this was what you wore to play football. We quickly converted him to a Packers fan.
It became obvious at a young age that a love of sports was a part of who he was. He started to play golf at around seven or eight. He had some natural talent and we were encouraged to get him involved.
The second sport he fell in love with was ice hockey. Matt wasn’t the most coordinated kid on the block and I feared that skating and hitting a hockey puck might have some dangerous consequences. I finally gave in and Matt proved me wrong. As his interest in hockey developed, so did my husband’s and mine.
When Matt took up hockey, something clicked for me. Not only did I enjoy watching his games and learning how the game worked, but I also loved participating with the other parents. I learned to run the time clock and to score and count shots on goal. I occasionally got a chance to be a mom to the guys in the penalty box. My husband coached some of the teams including our son’s teams. He also became one of the Zamboni drivers. We ran the concession stand and swept the bleachers.
The parents of the hockey teams became our circle of friends. We traveled to tournaments and enjoyed the games and the socialization of the teams and the parents. I really enjoyed sharing the comradery and getting to know all about hockey. (My time playing field hockey helped a bit)
We went to a few pro-hockey games as a family and I enjoyed our connection to the game.
One final thing I want to mention about sports is the fact that I appreciate many of the behaviors and habits that the guys learn that help them as they grow up. This was true for both golf and hockey. Reinforcing those habits became a part of our parenting style.
I was very proud to be involved in sports with our son. We benefitted and so did he.