You never want to be that parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle.
The one who criticizes their child’s sports performance while sitting there eating potato chips. Or forcing them to do a sport that you would have loved when they clearly don’t. But there is one way to live vicariously through your kids that is healthy and great fun.
These days our home is filled with lots of ‘sporting.’ We have more spandex in the laundry than regular clothing. It’s all come from treating sports like any other interest. In our case, we had no choice. As non-athletes faced with little athletes-in-the-making, we had to get to understand the rules of games we couldn’t play, support our athletes mental health for accomplishments we couldn’t relate to, and drive all over the place at all hours. At least we fully understood how to do the third thing.
But all that ‘fake it till you make it’ is paying off as we are able to relate to our kids in ways we didn’t expect even a year ago. It’s really fun to watch them as the 12th man – fully believing that our cheering makes them faster.
Explain the ins and outs of the game to others like a pro. I can now tell others the difference between sculling and sweeping, and the difference between a quad and a pair. My participation as an experienced parent is authentic and helpful as I share this knowledge with others.
Enjoy the wear. Yes, you can join the fun with an expanded repertoire of sporty clothing – from affordable to fancy. Golf clothes in particular are conservatively proportioned and won’t embarrass you to run into a client or colleague without all of your business hanging out.
Walk the talk. Instead of just sitting at practice or dropping someone off, join in with your own #33minutes workout. Go for a nearby run or walk. Stretch or do a yoga audio on a mat. When I was an athletic trainer, the coach always invited me to do the team warm up with the team, even if I couldn’t play the game. This struck me as a great morale builder for everyone involved, and gave me a greater appreciation for how the athletes felt in the heat or when the ground was wet.
Parents really can be part of the team beyond driving to practice and selling candy bars without crossing the line into ‘too involved.’ Enjoy some vicarious ‘sporting’ with kids and watch your own fitness grow with them.