I Pinky-Promise I Will Be a Good Sport


I have been a mom of kids in sports for ten years now, and I love it. My boys feel as comfortable on the field as they do in the classroom, and for that I am lucky. In this last decade, I have camped out on my fair share of bleachers, participated in many parent meetings, and I’ve even tried my hand at team mom. No matter what sport we are participating in, there are always two constants: the coaches are selfless volunteers who are paving a path straight into heaven, and the referees and umpires are never going to be 100% right 100% of the time. Ever. As a competitive person, and a mama who loves her babies fiercely, this second fact is the most difficult to accept. However, I propose to pinky-swear that I will not be “that” parent this summer, and I hope others will join me.

There is a Time for Embarrassment

I’m all for embarrassing my kids, but in appropriate ways. I am saving baby pictures for their graduation videos; I yell how much I love my middle schooler out the car window as I drop him off in the morning; and I enjoy telling funny stories in their presence to family and friends. However, the kind of embarrassment that comes with a parent losing his or her mind on the bench is irreparable for most kids. I pinky-swear to not be the parent with neck veins popping while yelling at the ref or ump for a bad call. Not only is the official most likely a teenager, and cannot catch all of the calls, but our kids can’t have fun if the parents are going off of the rails. 

They Can Learn from Things Being “Unfair”

I get it. It’s frustrating that not every call is in favor of the talented children we’ve raised, but these are learning moments, my friends. Things being “unfair” in sports is a microcosm of the world not being fair. This is good for them. This tiny slice of adversity will teach them how to overcome and get over things not always going their way. If parents accept that, well, the kids will learn to be great sports, too. Let things be unfair. Let’s all deal with it. I pinky swear I will.

Let the Coaches Coach

The men and women who choose to give up every ounce of their free time to teach our youth about sports and life amaze me. My husband has a crew of coaches with whom he volunteers, and I know first-hand how much time goes into these tiny humans’ skills. We need to be civil  in the stands and let the coaches do their jobs. They are worried about kid safety, technique, strategy, teamwork and countless other things. They do not need to be worried about what a parent will yell or say to get the team in trouble. We need to support these men and women. They are heroes among us.

So, there it is. I pinky swear I will not be “that” mom this year on the field, court, or rink, and I invite you to join me in this endeavor. Our kids deserve supportive fans in the stands especially when the ref or ump is clearly watching a different game if he didn’t see that foul, right? I believe in us. We’ve got this. It’s going to be a great season.

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Tessa A. Adams is a graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Masters in reading. She is a language arts and creative writing teacher and is the co-author of the blog www.familyfootnote.com. She has three children and when she is not mothering or teaching, she is writing. Her work can be found in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Huff Post Parents, Empty Sink Publishing, Route 7 Review, Sammiches and Psychmeds, THAT Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, xoJane, and Parent.co.