I have been a mother for over 30 years. With three daughters spread out in age over 12 years, I have seen them pursue some of the same interests and some unique.
My oldest daughter Amber, well, what can I say? I was younger, more willing to keep up with crazy practice schedules and her dad was a good athlete in his own right. He was willing to coach her teams and did a great job of seeing Amber was exposed to multiple sports while encouraging her to practice and play hard. My dad had been a great athlete and we hoped Amber had inherited some of his skills. Amber played (and her dad coached her) on an all-boys soccer team until she was 12. Likewise, she played boy’s Little League until about the same age before moving to girl’s fast-pitch softball.
Amber ended up playing Junior Olympic Fast Pitch softball. We were in Florida at the time and she got to play a lot of international ball. At one time I believe they were ranked 13th in the world.
Ally came along when we were deep in fast pitch fever. When her dad found out she was a lefty-he was thrilled. Nothing like a good left-handed pitcher. Ally played some ball and soccer but really rated running track. She won several City and County awards. One of my favorite memories was of her and I running a 5K across the Melbourne Causeway running toward the Atlantic Ocean when she was only ten-years old. Ally got into the horseback riding about that time as well. She showed 4H and local shows with her friends from Wickham Park. Many of whom, are still dear friends all these years later.
In Texas, Ally did competitive cheerleading on a traveling team. I didn’t like it as much as horseback riding competitions but applauded how hard the team worked and how tough the competition was in competitive cheer.
Lauren never really got to do much of the organized sports like softball or soccer. Divorce was disrupting a lot of things then and Lauren got swept along in riding horses. She had her first horse at age six in Florida and has been riding ever since.
Here are some things I learned that I would have never known without sports in my kid’s life:
- Ball parks are a great place to raise small children-Lauren pretty much grew up at the Melbourne and Palm Bay ball fields. While Hilary Clinton said it takes a village to raise a child, in her case it took a ball team and their families. Someone was always on hand to help out.
- With that said, in those Florida years, the team was our family. We spent Thanksgivings and other holidays with teammember families. To this day, the Bergstressers are close friends, attending Amber and Ally’s weddings.
- The cheerleading taught me how to style and french braid hair, skills I still use today (okay, so maybe I am braiding the horse’s tail, but still). I learned a lot about tumbling and choreography and the hours spent making something look simple that was quite complex.
- I learned a lot of new things when Ally started 4H with the horses and even more when Lauren went the English route a few years later. I continue to learn more every day about this difficult and demanding sport.
- Our horse show family here has expanded over the years. My dearest friends here in Houston are my horse show friends.
The biggest thing I learned from my daughter’s sport activities is that all my children are tougher, stronger and more determined than I ever could have been. Each one of them has taught me the meaning of courage and perseverance. I am so proud of each of them. I can’t wait to see what sport roads my grandchildren go down. I will be cheering them along. Count on it.