Thursday, April 23, 2015

Coach Mommy

We had the pleasure of watching family friend Mia for the weekend.  Collin was her buddy and even gave her this "flower" during a walk.  I'm beginning to think our fourth son may be a casanova!

A few months ago, I saw a posting at the boys' school; it was an opening for the junior high track coach position.  I lingered over the post and pondered whether I should apply for the job.  I love to run, and I am a religious reader of Runner's World magazine.  Certainly the combination of the two would be sufficient to lead a pack of pre-pubescent athletes.

I imagined I would be a coach like the one seen in Hoosiers.  I would stand on the track, gripping a clipboard and a stopwatch, delivering a motivational pep talk that rivaled the ones heard on Friday Night Lights.  I would turn a Bad News Bears team into superstars.  And when they stood on the podium clutching their shiny medals, they would thank God and then their coach. We'd collectively weep tears of victory and joy.

Then I was snapped back to reality.  The fact is I have four children, not all of whom are junior high runners.  After-school homework and activities leave little time to breathe, let alone coach.  And so I bypassed the position.

Coach Jackson landed the role.  She is a former track super star, and a talented instructor on everything from the hurdles to the relay.      I agreed to be the next best thing to a coach; I am her voluntary assistant when time permits and Chris is around to tend to the other children.

Caleb joined the junior high track team.  He did so on the stipulation that his running was kept to a minimum, and he could concentrate on field events.  I agreed to his terms with a gleam in my eye and a secret hope that he would catch the running bug and maybe, just maybe, enter a race.

After several weeks of working with the team, I realized that helping with the team is different than I imagined.  It's better.  I am not delivering speeches or barking out orders.  That's Coach Jackson's job.  But, I'm experiencing something I truly love and with my son.

When I stand along side him in practice, I swell with pride. He is not a track or field superstar, but he is a wiling and able participant. He is happy to have his mother's undivided attention, and I am happy to focus on just him.

I've learned the ins and outs of discuss and shot put.  He's learned a thing or two about sprinter form and pacing.

I sit by him on the bus.  We talk to his coach.  We laugh with his teammates.  We're forming memories of practices done together and meets experienced as a mother-son team.

I wasn't meant to be the coach, but I was meant to be his mother and cheerleader.  I have the privilege to stand along the track and practice field and belt out, "You got this."  Because he does.  

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