Maybe it's the impending holidays (especially the coming New Year) that has me thinking this way. Or maybe it's that I was just going through ASA's cumbersome online registration process.
In any case, today's topic is a thought I've seen shared by many experienced softball parents. It's something we pass along to those who are just getting into it, just as our predecessors did for us. The basic message is "enjoy it while you can, because while the days can be long, the years are short."
In our society winning and succeeding are very important. When it doesn't happen right away, we as parents can become impatient. We watch our children struggle, or fail, and we long for the days when their performance will improve.
Yet while we're waiting for that day, we could be missing a lot of good days in-between. That's something you don't want to do.
I personally have four kids, two boys and two girls. All four played sports through high school. I enjoyed watching their games, even though running from one field to another seemed like an endless journey. Most weekends, by the end of the day Sunday I was almost looking forward to going to work just so I could be in one place for more than a couple of hours.
But the journey wasn't endless. Slowly, one by one, my kids stopped playing sports. So I no longer have the pleasure of watching them participate, struggle, overcome and succeed. Honestly, I miss those days of running around madly.
Not just for the sports, either. As any experienced parent of a young athlete can tell you it isn't the games that are the best part. It's the time between games, whether that's hanging around a park or driving in the car to a tournament or a practice or a lesson. Your non-driver is forced to spend some quality time with you, and it becomes a great opportunity to learn what's going on in his/her life and find out what sort of person he/she is becoming.
Yes, the days at a tournament can be very long, especially if you're doing well. And it's easy to get caught up in hectic schedule of a season.
But every now and then, take a little time to look around and appreciate the opportunity you have to enjoy this time. Because no matter how it seems, before you know it all you'll have left is a few photos, a few videos, and/or a few memories. And you'll wish you could go back just one more time and cheer for your child — win or lose.
Anyway, that's the way I see it.