How important is it to support our kids and their various activities after HS? I think it’s VERY important! This idea was really brought home to me this weekend when UVA’s club lacrosse team played in the Beltway Bash in College Park.
There were two tiers of teams from all over the place… there were tons of players on each of these teams… and yet there were an astonishingly small number of fans/parents. Maybe they felt that this wasn’t a big enough tournament to warrant their attendance. Maybe they didn’t have enough vacation time to be able to attend. Maybe their player didn’t let his parents know with enough lead time to be able to make arrangements for other siblings or work events. Whatever the case, the teams didn’t seem to have a large contingent of fans following them… and that really surprised me.
Am I that much of a 60’s throwback parent that it doesn’t even occur to me not to follow my son’s game schedule? When both our boys were playing college lacrosse, we would make some unbelievable drives. One particularly interesting jaunt was traveling to Greensburg PA for a noon lacrosse game for E before getting back in the car to make it to a 7PM lacrosse game for D in Washington DC. Thankfully, both my boys expressed their appreciation but are there parents who wait for their kids ask for their attendance before they’ll make the effort?
I’ve lately been hearing a lot of people mentioning how excited they are for their child to turn 18 because they’ll be adults and not need their parents anymore… in some cases, parents are joking (at least, I hope they are joking) that their kids are “out” as soon as they turn 18. Honestly, I would never even think of making this statement… and would never make it in front of my boys. In my mind, voicing those comments just seem to make them seem that much more “plausible” and I would never want my boys to think that we won’t be there to support them, no matter what they are doing.
So, yes… I’ll always be that parent on the sidelines. I’ll have my camera in hand, especially since it gives me closer access to the field and helps me keep from yelling during the game, but I’ll always be there. I’ll be there to congratulate the team after the game and cheer them on before the next one. I’ll be present in the lives of my children… no matter how old they are… because they are my boys…
I’m planning to shoot at least one game this spring in which D will be the coach… and another in which he’ll be a ref. Is that weird? Maybe… but these are activities that command my children’s attention and dedication. If they warrant their attention, then they also warrant mine.
A young man from one of the rival teams came up to me and, when he saw that I had a camera, asked if I had taken many photos of the previous night’s game. I gave him one of my business cards, so he’d be able to access whatever I had taken the night before, and his response was one of gratitude… that they “don’t have anyone who takes pictures of their team”. Seeing this tall young man, looking for all intents and purposes like a huge child, asking about possible photos of him playing his favorite sport just broke my heart. Do parents think that they don’t matter to their kids once they graduate from HS?
I’m not questioning if parents still love their kids… I’m simply questioning the notion that parents aren’t wanted after their kids graduate from HS. I have spent the past six years following three lacrosse teams of varying skill levels and each was filled with kids who truly loved the continued attention. I’ve been blessed to share the sidelines with hundreds of kids who simply want someone to acknowledge just how much they love their sport… and I thank them every chance I get.
Maybe we all could take a little more time off to just watch our kids as they follow their passion… maybe then, the world would be a better, happier place?
We’re making a life… let’s make it one filled with purpose and love that starts first with our family and friends, no matter how old.