Dec 07

Do you ever think on something that you do constantly and ask yourself “why do I even bother”? Well believe it or not many of us do little things that we think is productive but it turns out to be merely an activity and not the purpose that we set out to accomplish.

A great example of this that I can personally remember deals with athletics and more specifically: athlete parents. I had the privilege of teen-sitting my girlfriend’s daughter for a week and being that she’s a little warrior I was made to play athlete parent for her cross country event. While out there I did a bit of people watching and literally shook my head at some of the people I saw running (or trying to run) with their kids, screaming like maniacs and trying their best to motivate them as they ran the course to improve their time.

When the race was over I pulled the young lady to the side and asked her if she ever hears us on the sideline while she’s running and she replied “no, I am concentrating on my time and breathing”. Of course she is, any athlete will tell you this. Motivation happens in practice, in the times before and after the competition, it isn’t easy to wake it up on the field.

Most of the time when adrenaline kicks in and you are going for the ball, the pin or the homerun; everything becomes a blur of action that is purely affected by instinct and freak factor. I cannot ever remember anything that was screamed at me during wrestling, martial arts or football with the exception of my coach pulling me to the side and giving me instruction.

Think of it as a reserve battery that all athletes have but it can be developed. Your positive influence, willingness to push that child and the fact that they want to hear you cheering, crying and screaming when they dominate is what will get them to explode. Are you with me on this now? Just being there is more motivation than you give credit for, being there and giving a damn about what’s happening on the field. Everything else is dynamic, it may work, it may not work, they may hear you, and they may be in a zone.

It’s just a matter of what makes sense and in those tiny seconds when the 90 mph fast ball is coming at them in the 9th inning, or the hail Mary is falling in between them and the 2 defenders in the end-zone it’s memories and instinct that will make an athlete rise to the occasion, not “COME ON JAIME!” being yelled from the stands… well sometimes that scream is right on time (if your kid admits to this working you can ignore this article completely).

It’s a beautiful thing to have spirit and cheer your child on to glory, but there are times when us onlookers wonder if it’s about them or you trying to outdo the other screamers in the parent club. Keep it about them and it will pay off in many touchdowns, homeruns and heroics. Even if it doesn’t, the memory of mom or dad in the stands is something that stays with us for the rest of our lives.

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