It is ridiculously hard to make friends as an adult. Seriously. If I didn’t have kids, I think that I would still be sitting in my little craft room drinking wine and feeling sorry for myself. But thankfully, I do have kids and that means that I have kids’ activities to attend. Kids’ activities = other parents( ie adults). Even still, being surrounded by other parents is no guarantee of interaction. Every sport has it’s own level of parental involvement or rather parental investment. If you have kids in sports you know what I mean. If you don’t, allow me to enlighten you.
Soccer parents: most of them have more than one child playing so they move from field to field, chatting with different people along the way. Usually you end up spending the most time at the youngest child’s field just because they like to see you around, where as the older kids roll their eyes at you and are not a big fan of parental spectators at practices. Games are another story, but, “Oh my gosh mom, you don’t need to stare at me all during practice. It’s creepy. geesh…” Because of the rotating nomadic nature of parenting soccer kids, there is usually some overlap of parents and you can usually connect with a couple of them, giving you a core group of parents to talk to as you move from field to field. This is where I met a few sweet moms that invited me to join their Mom’s In Prayer group. This was a godsend. I was able to met and befriend several really great women. I found a little bit of a sense of belonging that I really needed.
Football: It’s been a while since I have had football players, but from what I remember and from what I have witnessed, they are a hard core group of dedicated parents. They usually practice 5 days a week with games on Friday or Saturday. That is 6 out of 7 days of nonstop action-packed commitment. That doesn’t even count the never ending off season training, lifting, etc. You are your own breed of sports parent. I applaud you football parents. I don’t want to be you, but I applaud you.
Baseball: Another outdoor sport. You can be sitting in the sun baking or under umbrellas shivering and soaked. You feel a kind of solidarity among the parents, because you are all in this thing together and it could go on for hours…literally hours. (They should really consider having a time limit on baseball games because, OMG, they can be ridiculous!) You sit and cheer on one another’s kids because you know that each out and each run gets you closer to the end. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy baseball games, because I really do, but seriously people…HOURS!!
Volleyball: The first of the indoor sports to discuss. I never played so I don’t really understand all of the rules and things ( I still don’t understand the square dancing thing that the girls do at the beginning, but that’s just me.). But I love to watch the kids dive all over the place after the ball. The games seem to be so brief and if you are at a tournament, there is a lot of shuffling around, but the parents that are there are in it for the long haul. This allows for some parental interaction. Nothing super intense, but pleasant.
Finally Basketball: I will admit that this is my favorite sport to watch. I played basketball for years (I wasn’t very good, but I loved it.) so I understand it. There is just something about the smell of a gym, and the sound of a ball swishing through the net that just warms my heart.There are a few types of basketball parents. I am one of those…ummm…vocal (some might say obnoxious, but I prefer enthused) parents. I can get a tad bit carried away during an intense game, and I tend to cheer a bit too loudly for my husband’s liking.( I can usually tell when he has had enough of me when he a) puts his finger in his ear so that I don’t “blow out his eardrums” or b) he starts to scoot a little bit farther and father away from me and is eventually three rows down and 5 seats over. ) These parents are usually there for every game. We are all cheering for each other’s kids and love it when the kid that doesn’t get a lot of playing time sinks the basket. There are the parents (and also grandparent) that are there strictly to be good parents. They aren’t really interested in what is going on during the game, but they are dedicated to their kid and want to be there for him/her. They are talkers. They like to talk about everything but what is going on in the game. Then there are the parents that would love to watch the game but have other, smaller kids with them, so that the majority of the game is spent making trips to the bathroom and the snack bar. These poor parents never have a clue as to what is actually going on during the game because they usually don’t see more than a minute and 15 seconds of the game at a time. Been there done that. (Thank heavens for older kids that can babysit!!) While basketball parents cheer for all of the kids and there is a definite feeling of camaraderie, it is a hard group to crack. It is frustrating to me because I had my group of baller parents. We had been in the bleachers from the time our kids were old enough to shoot a ball. We had watched the kids grow from little 3rd graders that could barely dribble and walk at the same time, to high schoolers flying up and down the court making passes without looking, just sensing where the other players were. We stood side by side on senior night, with tears in our eyes as we looked up to our graduating players. It was my basketball family. With Isaac entering 7th grade, I was ready to watch the next wave of bballers grow from little 7th graders to big bad seniors. I had been watching these boys for the last 3 years play ball in elementary school and it was time to move up to the next level. And then we moved. Not only did Isaac leave his teammates, I had to leave my basketball moms. This sucked. It still sucks. There have been a few nice parents that have reached out and talked to me, but in general, I sit with Brian and whichever kids wanted to come, or I sit alone. Not fun. But I know that these things take time. I have to stick it out and so does Isaac. And just as Isaac and his new team develop their chemistry and find their groove, so will I and some bball parents. I hope.
**As a brief side note, I have actually met several perfect lovely people that I would consider friends since moving, several being neighbors within walking distance. (One that has a particularly sweet brand new baby that I could just scoop up and steal…but I won’t…maybe.) So I am not sitting here wallowing in loneliness as I stare at the wall all day. I just wallow in the bleachers.