I have a confession. I think I have become obsessed with it. I do it nearly every day- whether morning, night or afternoon and depending on my mood, I can be very private or very social about it. Sometimes- only SOMETIMES I yell and shout and I do it up to three times on Saturdays.

I watch all my children’s sports.

The first regatta at Murray Bridge.

As the children have come into their teenage years, their school and club sports have done nothing but diversify and intensify.

Between the four of them, they now row and play soccer, tennis, touch football, netball and softball. And they’re just the summer sports! Winter covers soccer, netball, soccer, athletics, soccer and soccer.

Truth be told I DO whinge and moan about my Uber mum duties with driving the gang here, there and everywhere in between, morning, day and night but really? I am savouring it.

A stop on our last road trip.

I’m appreciating the fact that, while I’m freezing my Stan Smiths off in the winter and melting my waterproof mascara down my eyeballs in the summer, the children are OUT there. Out there in the fresh air, the rain, the mud, the water, the heat, the sun. And they’re learning new skills, progressing from really sucking to being able to take part in a team and help each other achieve goals and master talents they didn’t think they could master.

Their screen time is truly saved for ‘down time’.

Meanwhile, they’re making new, strong friendships, learning how to work together in a team towards a common goal (or try or finish line, or score) and developing communication skills other than TikToks and streaks.

They’re making friends from other schools and finding support from peers socially, mentally and cyberlly (huh?).

Team sports boost self esteem and confidence and allow them to give and receive praise.

They require discipline in time management, training schedules, uniform appearance and accountability.

Presence in the moment.

Cries of ‘great goal’, ‘excellent set up’, ‘awesome work’ can pump anyone up.

Much like when the family cry out to me ‘fantastic clothes washing’, ‘awesome linen changing’ and ‘excellent child rearing’. Or whatever.

There are the obvious physical benefits of taking part in team sports -flexibility, cardio fitness, strength and co-ordination, all setting them up for life to come. I doubt any of my children will be struggling to walk up a flight of stairs, get up off the floor or carry a suitcase.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.- Ovals, courts, pitches and tracks all over the world teach this vital quality- to be carried through life. Respect towards team mates and their capabilities, respect towards coaches and their commitment to teaching and respect towards the umpires and refs, who are actually only human like the rest of us is all learnt through team sports. Not to mention respect towards parent support and the soccer mum vans that transport children as dawn cracks.

Photography compliments Jamie Watson Photography.

So- YES, I love watching my children play sport, learning life’s lessons along the way.

Learning that life isn’t always fair but we carry on regardless, with what we have in play, right here and right now.

We carry on in the moment for if we don’t- we can’t say we have done our best. We focus on the job at hand, whether it’s shooting for goal or meeting a deadline.

We support and encourage and teach our team mates and they do the same for us and if they don’t? Well they don’t really deserve to be on the team.

We learn that patience and bloody hard work gets you where you want to be, and if not? If the path changes along the way and you get thrown a curve ball ? At least you’ve been learning and achieving all the way. You’ve learnt what you’re made of.

We learn that not everyone is the same. Some people suck at catching, but excel at throwing and others suck at running but can boost morale like no one’s business. Different strengths and different capabilities are what make the world go round.

So what do I get as an onlooking parent?

Well- apart from some FANTASTIC coffee van service and fresh air, I get to see my children have fun.

I watch on proudly as they run on the oval with a touch football to attempt a slide.

I smile when the netball is up the ‘other’ end and they pull their knickers out their bum as though no one’s watching.

I cheer (well-in my head most of the time) when they CAN after they said they CAN’T.

I gloat when I see them warming up or stretching like I showed them. https://thestudiotrainer.com.au

I chat to like minded parents about all the important stuff like why the hell boys have to wear WHITE shorts on a soccer pitch or why the latest patterns and colours of Nikes are double the price of last season’s?

I justify all the time, money, early mornings, late nights, freezing in the fog settling over the pitch, sweating in the heat waves rising from the court, drinking Coke for a hangover and driving a nine seater van instead of a Mini Cooper S by knowing my children are playing sport to set them up for life- socially, mentally, physically and wedgie free.

To all the sporting parents out there- I salute you.

This post is dedicated to Coach Tracy. This morning she came from the hairdresser to the touch football game and the absolute downpour that followed. Her pretty hair a distant memory, she soldiered on, up and down the pitch full of encouragement and praise for our girls. You rock Trace.

Summer sports!

Who would YOU dedicate this post to?

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