By Christine Carter
Behind every teenage athlete is an exhausted parent.
You’ll find these moms and dads shivering on the bleachers, draped in blankets and coats. They’re holding umbrellas while they show up in rain, hail, sleet, and snow. They cheer on their kid at every game because that’s what they do.
Standing With Every Athletic Teen
You’ll see them sweating on the sidelines, drenched near poolside, and roasting behind the fences in the hot summer sun as the hours groan on. Moms will continuously spray sunscreen. Dads keep the cooler full of replenishing drinks and nourishing snacks because that’s what they do.
They will sit in the stands in stuffy gymnasiums and cold sports arenas for long hours and even longer days to support their athlete because that’s what they do.
You’ll meet them at every team meeting. They’re taking notes, scribbling to complete forms, and scheduling all the dates and times. There’s training, conditioning, games, meets, competitions, and tournaments. But they also cram their calendars with many mandatory volunteer positions, food sign ups, and additional responsibilities because that’s what they do.
You’ll realize they are always in the car, driving their athlete to and from all the things related to their sport, filling up days, weeks, and months because that’s what they do.
That’s What They Do
These parents of athletes are out of town often, traveling hundreds of miles with packed cars full of equipment, uniforms, overnight bags, and coolers, adding hotel stays to their growing credit card bills and filling up gas tanks and hungry stomachs at every stop because that’s what they do.
You’ll observe them serving at concession stands, lining up players, logging team stats, timing races, organizing meetups and potlucks and carpools. Because that’s what sports parents do.
You’ll wonder why they’re so busy, why their house is a mess and why they look so exhausted all the time. You’ll question why they can’t make plans or call you back or take the time to do much of anything else during their child’s sports season. But if you looked at their calendar, you’d know the reality that is being a parent of a teen athlete.
The truth is, parents of teen athletes can’t commit to much else. They are rearranging schedules, sacrificing work hours and much of their personal lives to support their kid—because that’s what they do.
Parents of Athletes
What you might not see, notice, or appreciate about parents of athletes is all the hard work, the dedication, and the commitment that goes on behind the scenes. They are there, supporting their athlete through all of those celebratory wins and victorious moments, as well as the tough calls, hard losses, missed goals, and all the anguish, hard work, and relentless perseverance that teen athletes endure.
It’s a lot.
Because the reality is this: The demanding dedication of any teen athlete requires a parent who is equally invested and passionately devoted to their kid.
Parents of teen athletes realize early on that for their kid to embrace the sport, fuel their passion, develop the skill, engage with the team, grow in character, and enjoy their experience, it takes the sacrificial support from their parents to make it happen.
And when you are a parent of a teen athlete, you will be exhausted, overscheduled, overwhelmed, and over budget, but the payoff is worth every depleting detail of all that you do for your kid.
Because parents of teen athletes get to experience an extraordinary journey with an intimate view, an emotional ride, and a profound sense of pride in escorting their kids down an incredibly challenging and rewarding road.