True Parent 8
Like most parents, I had children so I could live out my failed hopes and dreams through someone else. One of those dreams happened to be “team sports.” I’d always longed to spend my days playing on sunny fields, attending post-game pizza parties, and building lifelong friendships.
After deciding my daughter should experience the joy I’d been denied, I pored over every sport available—cautiously weighing each one to decide which activity would best suit her talents and passions. That was a bust, so we chose tee-ball because it was at a convenient time.
On the first day of practice it was raining and awful. No one mentioned we’d be standing in the pouring rain for two hours listening to other parents complaining about standing in the pouring rain for two hours. Her coaches were a couple of fathers, who I assume picked the short straw or, like me, were making up for childhood inadequacies.
Once a week we stood there, with umbrellas and rain boots, watching our kids completely ignore the rules of the game: kids running right when they’re supposed to run left, and if by a miracle someone got a hit, any team member not currently lost in flower picking would chase the ball like teens going for the last beer at a party.
After a few sopping practices (and many failed attempts at connecting with the other parents), it was time for THE BIG GAME. I have never seen so many people gathered in one place to witness such a debacle.
My daughter looked good out there, though—confidently swinging at the ball so many times I began to question if she knew she was supposed to hit it. The coaches mercifully decided to just let her throw the ball wherever she chose. And surprise! Her small stick arms threw it so far that she managed to make it to first base before the entire opposing team tackled her.
I watched as my daughter slowly made her way from first... to second... and confidently land on third.
“Can you take a picture of the one on third?” I whispered to a dad, aptly named Hugh. “I, uh, forgot my camera at home.”
“That one?” he asked.
“Yeah... the only one on third,” I responded, suddenly realizing why no one ever invited me to post-game pizza parties.
Looking back at the field, I quickly realized something was wrong. My daughter either needed to pee, or thought third base was a great place to practice music video dance moves.
I needed to get over there quick, and ran across the field diagonally, straight to third. The game was such a mess, no one seemed to think a mom carrying a kid across the field was strange.
“Do you have to pee?” I whispered.
“I already did,” my daughter said, looking down at her urine-soaked pants.
“Do you want to leave?” I asked, not paying attention to the game but certain everyone’s attention was focused on us—Hugh delightfully snapping away.
“No,” she said confidently. “I’m just gonna go with it.”
“You’re gonna go with it? What about the other kids?”
“I don’t like the other kids. I just want to finish the game,” she said, annoyed I’d questioned her decision.
I looked around at all the parents and grandparents and then back at my daughter.
“All right. Just go with it.”
I walked back to the dugout, thoroughly respecting my daughter’s decision, though wondering what the other parents were thinking. But then decided, who cares?
We never swung another bat after that. We never hung out with Hugh and his kids. But we did have an awesome pizza party together, because if my daughter wants to go with it, I’m going to let her go with it.
You know what? I’m going to go with it, too.