Parents, Attending all Your Kids’ Games Matters – When I grew up, both my parents asked for work. We live in the suburbs and they work in the cities-my mom is a court reporter and my father is a lawyer.
In each game, I searched their faces in the stands. When I found them, I knew I was important. I know my dream is important.
The most important sport in my family has always been basketball. My father played in college and I almost tried to dribble as best I could. I begged to participate in countless minor leagues, go to basketball training camp in summer, and play in my school team in winter. When I was in high school, this had become my number one priority (and it also took up most of my spare time). For more than 15 years since I played basketball, my parents have played every time. Each one one.
Although I have always enjoyed seeing their faces in the stands, I didn’t realize how difficult it was for them to do so until I grew up. I know that they must get off work early, endure driving to distant schools for a long time, struggle in the infamous Midwest snowstorm, and forget any personal pressure to cheer me up enthusiastically.
And since my sister also played games, sometimes we play games on the same day, so they divide and conquer to make sure we both play there. No matter what happens in their lives, they always serve us with impeccable efforts. It could be my championship game in my senior year, or it could be an interesting summer league scuffle-they were there.
When I look back now, having them in every game is more important to me than I can explain. I want to tell my father that I listened to his tips while practicing in the driveway on Saturday morning. I want to tell mom that I am as loyal to the game as she is. I want to prove that I am better at court than my sister (sorry, sister-love you). I want to make them proud.
At every game, I would search for their faces in the stands. When I found them, I knew I mattered. I knew my dreams, no matter how silly or far-fetched they may have seemed, mattered. Whenever I would score points or play good defense, I would look up at my dad for his thumbs-up signal and listen for my mom’s slightly embarrassing roar. Just like in every other aspect of my life, my parents proved I could rely on them. And that feeling has stuck with me throughout my life.
I know it isn’t always possible or easy to show up and be at every game, but parents, even if you think it’s no big deal (and even if your kids say it’s no big deal), it matters. And if you can’t be there, trying matters. I don’t remember a lot of the birthday gifts I got growing up or cookies I ate before dinner, but I vividly remember my mom and dad, in their work suits and jackets, walking into every game I ever played.
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