… I am that mom. That mom at your kid’s sports event. Not exactly a soccer mom. I don’t know what soccer moms do or what it is about them that earn them the label ‘soccer mom’ — I think it has to do with being suburban and driving minivans, both of which do not apply. Also, I am not sure if being a soccer mom has anything to do with being a fan of the sport or not, cause honestly, I can’t see anyone, outside of Seattle, caring about soccer in this country.
No, I’m worse than a soccer mom. Much worse. I am that mom that can’t distinguish between a Major League sporting event and a Little League one. I am the mom that tries to buy beer from the concession stand at your kid’s game. The one that yells at the Ump. The one that refuses to clap for. every. single. player. in the name of fairness, regardless of what team they are on or how badly they repeatedly strike out. Who claps for the other team? That’s craziness.
I’ve also noticed, I’m the mom that is actually watching the game. Who goes to their kid’s game and doesn’t watch them play, choosing instead to chat with the other moms? That’s some real craziness right there. It’s baseball, not a tea party.
I’m the mom that habitually embarrasses her son at his games. And here I thought I was just enthusiastically supporting my kid, albeit loudly, but supportive non the less.
What’s all that vocal enthusiasm doing for his love of the game? I can tell you what it’s not doing. It’s not motivating him to want to practice. It’s also not motivating him to have a good time. And that’s all my fault. If soccer moms are good sported moms that I’m certainly no soccer mom.
With baseball season starting back up, I thought now would be a good time to examine how I should be encouraging, not embarrassing, my son.
Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as [kids] perform are:
Before the Competition:
I love you.
After the competition:
Did you have fun?
I’m proud of you.
I love you.
Researchers Bruce Brown and Rob Miller asked college athletes what their parents said that made them feel great and brought them joy when they played sports. Want to know the six words they most want to hear their parents say?
“I love to watch you play.”
That’s it. Nothing aggrandizing like “you’re an all-star,” and nothing discouraging like “here are a couple of things I noticed that you can work on.” Just “I love to watch you play.”
And I do. Boy, do love to watch him play. Have I ever told him so, though? Honestly, not to my recollection. But all that’s gonna change. Get ready, son. I’m about to do a whole bunch of encouraging up in your game.