This is what parents of teen athletes do.
You’ll find these parents shivering on the bleachers, draped in blankets and coats or holding umbrellas, while they show up in rain, hail, sleet, and snow- cheering on their kid at every game, race, or match, no matter the weather.
You’ll see them sweating on the sidelines, drenched near poolside, and behind the fences in the hot summer sun as the hours groan on, spraying the sunscreen and bringing the cooler full of replenishing drinks and nourishing snacks.
You’ll watch them sitting in the stands in stuffy gymnasiums, indoor tracks, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and overcrowded pools while others are bundled up in cold sports arenas donning their warm winter jackets- all of these parents spending hours upon hours, days upon days, cheering for their kid.
You’ll greet them at every team meeting, scribbling on all the forms that need to be completed, scheduling all the dates and times for training, conditioning, games, meets, competitions, and tournaments, while cramming their calendars with countless mandatory volunteer positions, food sign ups, and organizing carpools – because this is what parents of teen athletes do.
You’ll realize they are constantly in the car, driving their athlete to and from training, conditioning, practices, team meet-ups, and the countless sporting events that fill up their days, weeks, and months because this is the life of every sports parent.
You’ll notice they’re out of town often, accumulating hundreds of miles with packed cars full of equipment, uniforms, overnight bags, and coolers, while adding hotel stays to their growing credit card bills and filling up gas tanks and hungry stomachs at every stop.
You’ll observe them serving at concession stands, lining up players, logging team stats, timing races, organizing meetups and pot lucks and end of season banquets because this is what parents of teen athletes do.
You’ll discover their house is full of sports equipment and dirty uniforms, wet towels, and stinky cleats- while their pantry is packed with massive quantities of snacks and drinks because parents of teen athletes are constantly on the go.
You’ll wonder why they’re so busy, why their house is a mess and they look so exhausted. You’ll wonder why they can’t make plans or call you back or take the time to do much of anything else during their athlete’s sports season, but if you looked at their calendar, you’d know the reality that is being a parent of a teen athlete.
You’ll learn they can’t commit to much else, because they are rearranging schedules, sacrificing work hours and much of their personal lives to support their kid, because that’s just what they do.
What you might not see, notice, or learn about parents of teen athletes, is all the hard work, the dedication, the commitment of the parents that goes on behind the scenes of those games, those meets, those matches, those competitions, those tournaments, those championships, and all the celebratory wins and heartbreaking defeats because my gosh, it’s a lot.
The demanding dedication of any teen athlete requires a parent who is equally invested and passionately devoted to their kid.
THIS is what parents of teen athletes do.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Every single thing we do is worth it because there’s really nothing better than being a parent of a teen athlete.
The original version of this piece was first published on Your Teen for Parents.