Monday, July 22, 2013

Get With the Program, Myra!

I’m a proud Antiguan.  I try my utmost to keep my accent, granted with not much difficulty.  I enjoy my Antiguan dishes, and I relish meeting Antiguans in my neck of the woods.

One thing that is very much Antiguan is that children’s lives do not revolve around their parents; well, it is definitely Old School Antiguan.  I do try to attend all my children’s games because that is what supportive parents do, but you won’t find me screaming at the top of my lungs.  Experience has taught me that they actually don’t hear or can’t process everything that I’m saying, so why waste my energy?  Sure at their band recitals or school musicals I can holler, but other than distracting them and irritating everyone else, what’s the point?  I don’t begrudge any parent who does, it just seems futile to me.  I’ll clap and cheer, but I won’t scream from the sidelines or yell like a lunatic.

I am a big believer in the development of children; and athletics is one way of doing it that benefits children and parents alike; but with three children playing two to three sports annually, where will I find space for all their trophies?  Now I have nothing against a first, second or even third place trophy, but why fill the house with trophies just for participating?  Isn’t that what team pictures are for?

My first encounter with me getting in line came two years ago when my youngest played competitive basketball.  With trophies for baseball and soccer being thrown around his room, when the coach sent an email about obtaining trophies, I declined.  My husband was the assistant coach, and he was put on notice that since we were not planning on getting a trophy for our son, the coach will get it for him.  I think they were about $8, so it wasn’t about the money.  I HATE clutter, and like I said, these trophies are just for showing up.  In hindsight I understand where the coach was coming from - if all the other boys got trophies and my son didn’t, he would have felt left out.  But this is where I’m coming from – if your parents get you a trophy and you don’t treasure it, then no more trophies for you, mister!

I remember when my children were toddlers, and my boss constantly asked what they were going to be dressed like for Halloween.  I always responded that I didn’t celebrate Halloween.  I think she kept asking me in the hopes that one day I’d have a different response.  When they got a bit older, they wanted to celebrate.  Fine by me.  They can celebrate if they want, but not me; and I certainly wasn’t taking anybody to beg candies from strangers.  Also I wasn’t spending good money on costumes, nor was I wasting time or gas to procure said costumes.  Initially, they got costumes from their teachers, but as they got older, and went trick-or-treating with neighbors, I noticed they were dressed like professionals – athletes, executives – anything that permitted them to use their own clothing. 

This past spring, my daughter’s school basketball team entered a tournament, and that was the most exciting basketball I ever saw outside of the NBA.  It dawned on me that that was the same tournament her coach had wanted her to enter the year before.  But I had just finished dropping off and picking up three children for four months straight.  I needed a break.  He mentioned a couple of times that if she had entered, they would have won; but it didn’t hit me how big this tournament was until I attended.

So when my son made the All Star Baseball team, the turtle that I am, again I didn’t realize this was going to be a huge deal.  You would think I would have learned by now, but not me.  There were emails about purchasing hoodies to decorate the dugout.  There were emails about purchasing apparel with the boys’ names and numbers.  Two things came to mind.  1) I just paid for him to play in the regular season.  I just bought new shoes, pants, socks, and belt.  I constantly bought gas to get him back and forth.  I contributed toward the coaches’ gifts (which is probably the only well-deserved money spent).  I contributed toward the end of season party.  I paid for him to play in the All Stars.  I am spent….don’t want T-Shirts for the family….not buying a hoodie.  And B) these boys are 9 and 10!  At that age, they just haven’t been around long enough for me to sport attire with their names.  This is not the major league.  This is not the minors.  Heck, this is not even college.

When we arrived at the first game, we were overpowered by a wave of royal blue.  Every single parent, almost every sibling, grandparent, aunt and uncle was wearing a royal blue T-Shirt.  Twelve hoodies adorned the dugout fence, and the team has 13 players.  Everyone was in full regalia except the Francis clan.  It felt a little weird because we already stuck out…..if you know what I mean.  (Insert sly smile here.)  But not weird enough to feel guilty.  I was just amazed that parents took little league so seriously.

I still think that it’s too much attention for little boys.  Yes they practiced hard, and yes they worked their little butts off; I just don’t think that they have earned it yet.  Therefore, this will probably be one of those things that I will never get.  However, if my son makes next year’s team, I will go all out and get that hoodie, dress the rest of the family in T-Shirts with FRANCIS and his number, join the other mothers and cook for the team, (okay, not that) because perspectively speaking, if it makes him happy, it should make me happy too. 

1 comment:

  1. Myra Francis, how long have you been living in the US? You didn't KNOW that little league was big bizniz?!! This land of "everything is an opportunity to make money"!

    You better put a new line item in the budget for these extra games/tournaments; or increase the budget for the kids' sports - just saying:)