All for sports!

Kristine Lilly on being a sports parent

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My kids are just starting out in sports. So, I guess you can say I’m a “soccer mom”. Both of my kids are doing more than just soccer though. They both have done swimming, gymnastics and soccer.  I am now on the sideline being a fan and watching my kids do their thing, instead of me doing my thing, which is quite a change. I do catch myself wanting to help them, but try to limit that to just their coach. I have to say, it is hard to not want to help your kids. I get it now – how parents can be so involved. I have to let my girls learn and make mistakes and grow. It’s not easy but I think it is so important.

I think back to my younger days of playing and talking to my parents after my games. I remember my dad would ask me how many goals in soccer did I get or how many hits I got in a baseball game. He was never disappointed, but let me know he cared about what happened in the game.

When my daughters are done with their sport I try to ask them first, “did you have fun?” Then it is always “did you work hard and listen?” If they have accomplished those things, then I think they are doing ok. The one thing I do love to see when my kids are doing a sport is the smile on their face. It has to be fun. Fun makes them try a skill again and again until they are successful – that is priceless.

I have to remember I’m their parent and I want them to have the security and comfort to come to me whether they win/lose, fall or stay up, score or not – and I can give them the same love no matter what. I’m proud of my kids and I want them to know that.

One of the greatest things in the world is to be a parent. No one can take that away from you and no one can understand unless you have a child. So take pride in being there for your kid and to love and support them in all that they do. Every time I stepped on the field I looked for my parents. Every time I stepped off the field I looked for my parents. Be the one your kids come to after games and let them know you are proud of them.