Sports Parenting

Sometimes it’s all about ME

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I know this isn’t politically correct and all that, but, dammit, sometimes it just is all about me.

For the past 22 1/2 years, I’ve been a mom.  I’ve been home for my kids – working at my own business for several years, working in an office part-time for a while, volunteering constantly – but always home and THERE for my kids.

Now, I’m down to one kid left at home, my tennis playing kid.  He decided several years ago that his goal in life is to play college tennis then turn pro.  And my husband and I have continually supported that goal every step of the way, financially and otherwise.  If you could see the list of books I’ve read in the past few years, a large percentage of them have to do with tennis, sport psychology, and the talent question.  So, I guess you could say that my son’s tennis has consumed my life, at least lately.

I know that the tennis has to be HIS choice, HIS decision, HIS desire.  But, sometimes, it’s all about ME!

Given my utter and complete devotion to helping him succeed, it makes me crazy when I see him back down or give less than 100% or just lay down his sword totally.  I’ve invested too much here.  I’m not talking about the money (well, maybe a little bit) but about the emotional investment.  Sitting at every tournament, fighting with all I’ve got to keep the negative facial expressions under control when he misses a shot, digging deep to find a positive lesson even when he’s lost to a lesser opponent, keeping the ride home cheerful and resisting the overwhelming urge to lecture.  Most of the time I’m pretty good at keeping things under control.  Most of the time.

But then something happens, like his recent back injury at a sectional tournament.  And my control goes out the window.

“Did you stretch like you’re supposed to?  Did you warm-up your shoulder?  Did you ice between matches?  No????  WHY NOT?????”

Disappointment sets in.  Realization that, even at 15 years old, he still doesn’t always do what he’s supposed to.  Frustration that all the time and money we’ve spent on fitness trainers, nutritionists, and physical therapy seem wasted when he fails to follow the prescribed regimen to stay healthy.

And now we’re back to needing MORE physical therapy and time away from the tennis court, all because of an injury he probably could’ve prevented in the first place.  And I’m angry.  I’m frustrated.  I’m disappointed.

Disappointed.  When I really think about it, the disappointment is the toughest part.  I have expectations for my son now, too.  Because HE has put those expectations in my head and has told me ad nauseum that this is what he WANTS.  I want to scream at him, “If you want it so badly, then why aren’t you doing the things you need to do to take care of the most important part of your tennis . . . YOUR BODY?????”

And then I remember . . . he’s only 15.  Only 15.  His brain is still developing.  He’s still a child.  He still needs my guidance.  He still RELIES ON my guidance.

But, I think it’s time to start the weaning process.  Put the ball 100% in his court, so to speak.  Back off.  Step away.  Let him grow up.  Let it not be about me.

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