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Mom on the sidelines

So I’ve been officially banned from the baseball field today.

Apparently I make my kid nervous. That’s what he says. I don’t completely understand it because my husband is the coach, the baseball guy, the one who wants him to play his best and be his best. I of course want that too, but I’m happy just to watch him and his team play, be among friends, hug him when he’s done and go for ice cream. I’ve even been known to bring a book to the game. How am I the intimidating one?

Half the time I’m bitching and moaning that I even have to go. With three boys, it’s all baseball all the time. There’s always another game on the horizon. So why do I even care? Why am I stomping around, huffing and puffing like I’ve just been benched?

Because I’ve just been BENCHED! Damn it. Who wants to be sidelined?!

I feel like I’ve been denied something owed to me as baseball mom; the reward for schlepping them all over, for the mounds of laundry, for the days and nights sacrificed for the game.

And yeah, I love watching him play… well, usually. Sometimes I’m cringing and my stomach is in knots and I kind of want to throw up. And I’m not even the one playing!

Wait a second. I’m having an epiphany over here….

I’m not the one playing. It’s not about me.

Crap. Well that’s annoying.


My oldest is my most competitive. He likes to be the hero, the star. We’ve never put those labels on him, but he’s a natural athlete and puts them on himself. And for some reason, his need to impress me just adds to the pressure.

No matter how much his dad and I explain that no one hits home runs all the time, or even most games, that sometimes the balls just don’t bounce your way, his confidence is still wrapped up in his performance.

My middle son is the total opposite. His team has lost practically every game this season by mercy. It’s cover your eyes, slap your head painful to watch, but he still loves having as many people come and cheer him on as possible. He wants to win, but he can laugh about it too. His temperament can take it and move on. He doesn’t beat himself up like my oldest.

I wonder if all goes back to the birth order thing? Firstborns must succeed. Middles must mediate and negotiate (and sometimes throw tantrums). Babies go with the flow. There’s no exact science there for sure, but it definitely holds true for my boys.

A few moms have told me to ignore my son’s wishes and go to the game anyway but I’m not going to do that, at least for now. This is a big game and he has enough mental pressure without me adding to it.

I know it’s easy to say, “It’s just little league.” Or “You won’t even remember this when you’re older.” But whether your 12 or 22, when you’re in it and it matters to you; the pressure is real and should never be minimized.

These teams work hard together and as individuals. They support each other on and off the field. They play to have fun and they play to win.

Of course it matters to them if they lose.

Of course certain games make them more nervous than others.

And of course I will be there beside him even if it’s only in spirit; because my job as a mom is to be my kids’ best cheerleader, no matter where I’m doing the cheering.

jack bball

Shhh… I’ve discovered, where you can watch the games LIVE on your computer or phone! It’s genius!!


About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

33 responses »

  1. I played high school softball, first base and batted cleanup for four years and was pretty good…I died whenever my mom or dad or both showed up to my games. Though I was in my teens, it was something about them being there, adding pressure, when I didn’t need anymore. In my heart and head I knew why they were there, but it still didn’t matter. Perhaps, I didn’t want them to see me make a mistake when a whole team depended on me to make a play… I couldn’t take disappointing both my parents and my team at the same time. But, of course, the few times I hit grand slams and they weren’t in the stands, I wished they were…showing is always so much better than telling…
    Your son knows you love him and that right there is the first place trophy 🙂
    AnnMarie 🙂

  2. Awh – good luck being side-lined for awhile (or watching from your phone – hee hee). My mom was a vocal cheerleader in the stands when I played bball. It was embarrassing at times, but as I grew older, I accepted it. Now I am so appreciative of her support (and my dad’s too). Growing up is tough stuff!

  3. I think it’s very respectful that you are sitting this one out. I don’t think we should always take what our kids say at face value, my youngest will say he doesn’t want me when I know he does. He likes me to fight for it. But if my oldest asked me to sit out an event I can trust it’s because sometimes it’s easier for him to do his best if he knows he can report back to me and not have me right there. Thanks for a great post!

    • true! and i have ignored him in the past when I don’t think he really means it. but i know for this one, he does. it’s a high pressure game and he doesn’t need any extra pressure from me. i’m all about the hugs and ice cream. 😉 i really do want to go though! haha.

      • Kids get bossed around so much. As they should. However, this is one of those times when you can allow your son to make the decision and be in control. Maybe he’ll discover that not having you there didn’t affect him. Or maybe it affecting him in the opposite way he expected. Embrace your new-found free time!

      • feh! what free time. now i have to entertain the other two! 😉

  4. My sons play sport and not happy about me just watching. So I became an official and now have a reason to be there and only half watch. The boys now tolerate me being involved and we are all happy with this arrangement. Iscorecast sounds like a great alternative!

  5. I am a baseball mom too. My son is 15 and has been playing for 10 years. I so know that feeling of wanting to cheer them on and the cringe worthy moments. If you haven’t seen Stephanie Dil’s video from Listen to Your Mother, you must. As a baseball mom you will cry and laugh – it’s wonderful. Here’s the link:

  6. Cant u hide behind trees like grandpa did?

  7. When he looks back on this game, many years later, he will regret that he asked you not to come. But I’m sure right now it seems like the logical thing to do. You are a very supportive mom NOT to go support him when he asks.

    We use gamechanger where you can see the play by play. It’s not quite the same as being there, though.

  8. I totally don’t agree with people who say the it’s just little league, or that he won’t remember this when he gets older. I was a swimmer all through middle school and high school. I wasn’t the best one on the team, and I certainly wasn’t destined for the Olympics like some of my teammates were, but every single time I stood on a block waiting for the starting gun for my races it felt awfully real to me, and I remember every second of it. And I suspect your guy will too.

  9. Before I read the last line about, I was going to suggest you stake out a spot and use binoculars. How old school!

  10. I don’t know what I am going to do when my kids start sports like this. I am a nervous wreck and I will also be annoyed that everything will revolve around their sports stuff. Lord, just thinking about it makes me shake.

  11. Good for you! It’s tough respecting our children’s requests at times, but sometimes they need space to grow into themselves. Here’s hoping you won’t have to sit the bench for too long! In the meantime, yay for technology!

  12. In high school, I played “The Woman” in Death of a Salesman — the woman who seduces Willie Loman. I made my entrance onto the stage all set to seduce Willie (I, who had never seduced anyone) only to see my father sitting in the front row.

    Parents can be very intimidating when they cheer you on … trust me on that one.

    • you add the added intimidation of seducing. but i know it’s hard to perform for audience, especially those you love. games like that, it’s not easy for me to watch either.

  13. Yes! The birth order thing is right on with my family too! My oldest declared in 8th grade that he was going to make it to states before he graduated, my middle two have a love/hate relationship with sports, and my youngest was dancing Gangnam style down the basketball court during a game (and apparently had no clue a game was even going on around him, lol).

  14. Suzanne Fluhr

    I was a terrible baseball mom. I really didn’t enjoy standing there in the gloom of dusk, shivering in an April chill, waiting for a “game” to be over. Fortunately, neither of our sons decided to stick with baseball beyond a few seasons. At basketball games, I had to sit close enough to be able to clap my hand over our younger son’s mouth—-at about age 5, he could do some pretty effective trash talking—usually while sitting next to a parent of an opposing team member.


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