Irony

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The irony is not lost on me that I bitch about competitive hockey parents and now my son is playing competitive baseball. 

But I will not be one of those parents. 

During tryouts – merely tryouts! – I watched and listened as one of the head coaches yelled, bitched, and complained at his own kid during every play. A coach

A couple of days later, I, as well as the rest of the spectators, very clearly heard a baseball mom screaming at her kid to “behave and listen to the coaches!” It makes me wonder if I’ll have to listen to this every practice and every game. 

Everyone is so proud of my kid for making the team. From grandparents to neighbours, everyone has asked for his game schedule so they can come watch. This is a baseball town in summer. 

But I don’t think I’m cut out to be a baseball mom yet. I’ve dealt with some pretty shitty hockey parents – and those were only house league parents (who tend to be generally more relaxed and laid back). But I’m questioning whether or not I’ll be able to handle these tiered baseball parents because I was so happy to get rid of the tiered hockey team parents. I’m just not one of them. 

My aunt grew up an athlete. She was always very active when she was young and it filtered into her own family life. She married a hockey player. And they raised their kids to be adventurous and active as well. As I type this, one of her kids is in Mexico surfing right now and the other is in Alaska looking for some snowboarding places. So I trust my aunt to tell me the truth about minor sports because she’s dealt with everything. 

When I talked to her about some of the shitty parents in hockey and baseball, her only words of encouragement were, “you need to learn how to deal with them because they just keep getting worse as the kids get older.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but she was honest and I appreciate that. 

So here I am, on the side of the dugout, smiling proudly as I’m watching my son playing competitive ball for the first time ever, and the coach is still yelling at his kid. 

I’m dealing… 

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Pick Your Battles – Bottle Flipping And Fidget Spinner Edition 

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Listen, I know bottle flipping is annoying. And those fidget spinners seem like a ridiculous waste of money. I see them everywhere; at the hockey rinks, at the school, downtown, at the malls, in the doctor’s offices, at the coffee shop, and everywhere else. I don’t understand the point of either of them. And they get in the way of my son’s obligations sometimes. 

But…

My son has half-filled bottles of water littering my garage, deck, and front step. And I won’t move them. He also bought himself two fidget spinners and I didn’t complain about him wasting money. 

Because…

My son is nine. And trouble seems to follow nine year old boys around like a lost puppy dog. Instead of him vandalizing other people’s property (or mine), I allow him and his friends to flip as many bottles as they want for as long as they want. Because that’s how they bond as friends. It’s their quality time together. 

Instead of him bullying other kids, he’s inviting them to join in their bottle-flipping fun when they’re out in public. I see no value in the actual bottle flipping, but I see my son making new friends and enjoying time with his already-established friends as long as they aren’t bothering anyone else. 

Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve told my son and his friends to take it elsewhere if I feel they’re getting in the way at the rink, park, or anywhere else we might be. If they’re annoying someone else who might be near us, they are told to take it somewhere else or put it away. I’m not a completely ignorant parent afterall. It’s a matter of respect. But I digress. 

Instead of ripping my house apart and making a mess, my son sits quietly in the front window and plays with his fidget spinner. 

Instead of sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, he spins a gadget in his fingers and we have lengthy conversations while I make dinner. 

My point is that he’s not getting into trouble. He’s not ruining things. And he’s spending time with people he wants to be with. 

I understand that the bottle flipping and the fidget spinners are annoying and practically useless, but I’d be more concerned if the police drove my son home because he got his hands on a can of spray paint and ruined the neighbours house. I’d rather pay $12 for a spinner than $1200 to replace a garage door. I’d rather he spend time with his friends flipping bottles than bullying kids in the park. 

I’m not saying my kid would do bad things like that – I hope I’ve raised him better than that. But, lets face it, there’s always potential to get into trouble when you’re a nine year old boy. 

So I won’t complain if they want to flip bottles or spin those fidget spinners for hours. 

Besides, back in my day, we had a thing called yo-yos that my parents just hated. And I’ve still got mine.