The air was cool but I could feel my temperature rising and my heart beat speeding up. The crowd started to gather around as the intensity started to rise. Parents and coaches on the opposing team were getting closer and closer to the court. Music was pounding and I could feel the base vibrating against my chest.
My five year old started tugging on my leg. “Mom, mom,”
“Just a second buddy, I am watching your brother”
“Mom, mom, I need to go pee.”
“Again, you just went…”
We race off to the bathroom and I watch from a distance. The crowd from both sides seems to crowd in even more. I could sense that words were being said that shouldn’t be said but the music drowns the voices. But the faces, the postures. I haven’t seen it this intense before.
We run back to watch from a closer view and my heart starts to pound again. This is ridiculous, why am I so worked up. I look to my side and see another momma of one of the players and our eyes meet in understanding. This is crazy.
I look at my son who is in the middle of it all and I am in awe. He is working really hard with a strength I have not seen in him before. With foul after foul, he still doesn’t give up.
I continue to pray. “Lord protect him, give him strength and help him stay focused on the game and not the mess going on around him.”
Who would of thought 3rd and 4th grade boys playing 3 on 3 would bring out this type of ugliness.
As I look back on this game, it honestly feels a bit surreal. Did that really happen? Did parents really act that way? Why is that type of behavior ok? What are we as adults teaching our kids about sportsmanship, about character? It makes me sad and a bit concerned for this generation of athletes.
Here is what I learned that day that may encourage you as you watch your child from the sidelines. Whether that’s watching them play a sport, perform in a production, walk through friendships, or dating relationships there are going to be days, weeks, years even that they are going to walk through challenges. But, there is power in a momma’s prayer, in a grandma’s prayer.
Now I’m still learning this and really haven’t grasped all there is to parenting but I do know from watching what was happening in this particular championship game, prayers were being answered.
Heading into this game my husband had pulled me aside and told me that the opposing coach was coaching his players to step on our son’s shoes to stop him.
When I heard this the momma bear in me was ready to fight, but knowing that I really couldn’t go out there and fight, I could fight in prayer and so I started praying. Praying over each child out there and particularly over our son. Knowing that more prayer would be good I texted my mom to pray as well.
The game ended in the other teams favor but none of the kids had been hurt. They had battled hard but there were no physical injuries.
As I spoke with my son afterwards about the game and the chaos going on around him I asked him if he noticed all the yelling and running out on the court that was going on. He said, “a little but not really I was focused on the game”.
I was a bit amazed. Wow, really?
It was later that I processed through this. God had protected him in more ways than I had imagined. He had not only protected his body he had protected his heart from ugliness that could have set in. How thankful I was and what a picture it gave me of how God hears a mom’s and grandma’s prayers.
I am learning that watching from the sidelines is almost harder than being the one in the middle of the battle. I’m starting to grasp my parent’s anxiousness for my siblings and I as we did our activities growing up.
As my kids grow I’m finding myself trying to slow it down because changing diapers and pushing them around in a stroller is a whole lot easier than watching them work through life’s challenges. And with my oldest being ten for one more month we are just only beginning to hit the pre-teen years. I can almost feel the excitement and heaviness of this next stage of life.
Like most parents we want our kids to grow through their experiences and learn how to work with others. We want them to have fun and to find something that they can have success in, but my how it can take your emotions on a rollercoaster as you watch and guide from the side.
How thankful I am for the mother’s that have been doing this longer than I. As I ask for advice on how to walk this path from the sidelines. Their words of encouragement are a gift right now.
Maybe they can help you as well.
From a mom of a college student,
“Pray before they have a game, a performance, a test, and then let your anxiety go. Don’t waste your energy fretting. Praise the Lord that they are healthy and that they are able to do what they are going to do. Enjoy the times you get to watch them.”
From a mom with high schoolers,
“Remember they are God’s children. We get to be the ones to guide them and love them but they are His and He has a plan for them.”
From a mom of adult children,
“Get on your knees and pray.”
And that is what I will leave you with today. What a joy it is to raise a child. I praise the Lord for giving me this opportunity to guide, teach and love the children He has given my husband and I.
I hope that you will find encouragement from this momma and other moms on the sidelines with you. You can do this. May God be our guide.