I did not grow up in an athletic household. We were what you might call an “artsy fartsy” family. I am much more familiar with ballet shoes and chord charts than I am with cleats and shin guards. The whole concept of being a “sports mom” is both intimidating and a little foreign to me. I am quickly learning what this all means for my life (and free time) for the next 18 years.
Jafta has been in t-ball for about three weeks, which of course now makes me an expert on how to be a good baseball mom. So, for the benefit of those other non-sporty moms out there, I give you my Ten Commandments for Little League Moms.
1. Thou Shalt Know the Lingo
Don’t continually refer to the practices as “rehearsals”, or ask the team mom when they will be getting their “costumes”. Do make sure to learn some catch phrases to yell from the sidelines. Just follow what the other moms are yelling. Screaming things like “keep your eye on the ball!” or “ready position! get in ready position!!” will make you sound like you know what you are doing, and also like you actually care. Which you do. Care. Very much. Dont’ forget that.
2. Thou Shalt Take This Very, Very Seriously
Sure, they are four years old, and sure, you just signed him up because his friends were doing it. But once you are in Little League, you need to start placing an irrational emphasis on perfomance and competition for your child. The first
rehearsal practice is not a good time to casually ask the other moms if any of this is the least bit age appropriate, and if they wouldn’t be having more fun if we just let them run around the field. Comments like, “Oh my gosh they’ve been running this mock game for 45 minutes. I’m bored to tears and can’t imagine how they must feel” will not be appreciated. Nor will posing the question, “Do they really have to go to the games every Saturday?”
3. Thou Shalt Dress the Part
You are a sports mom now. It’s time to look like a sports mom, so no one will mistake you for having your own identity or sense of fashion. Go buy some t-shirts and baseball caps that will let everybody know what team your child is on. Also, aren’t those jeans a little flashy? Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a matching windbreaker and track pants? And please leave the cute shoes at home. This is sneaker country. And I don’t mean Converse. You will also have the opportunity to buy some Cookie Lee Baseball Bracelets that are dressy enough to wear to work, so that no matter what time it is, everyone who sees you will know: You’re a baseball mom.
4. Thou Shalt Have the Right Gear
Your child will need cleats – and you will need to do a google search to figure out what that means. Another hint – showing up to the first practice with your son wearing a toddler-sized velcro mitt and attached velcro ball just might make the coach hate you. It’s time to familiarize yourself with a SPORTING GOODS STORE, because the baby section of Target is apparently not where baseball mitts should be purchased. I know, it’s scary. Take some deep breaths. You can do this. Also, you need to make sure they are wearing their team hat to every
rehearsal practice. Because if not, the coach will publicly shame your child by asking about it as soon as he steps on the field.
5. Thou Shalt Peddle Things No One Wants
Are you ready to be that friend? The one who is constantly hitting up others to pay for their kid’s activities? Who doesn’t want to be asked to buy crappy chocolate bars and tickets to a pancake breakfast that even YOU don’t want to attend? And did someone say Raffle Tickets!?? You get to sell those, too! Don’t take it personally when people start screening your calls.
7. Thou Shalt Engage in Conversation with Other Baseball Moms
Apparently bringing a book and isolating yourself on your blanket might be considered a bit rude. So for the duration of the 90 minute practice you will need to engage in chit-chat with women you don’t really know. Topics include How Much Your Husband Practices With Your Child, How Much Your Child’s Baseball Skills Are Increasing, and How Much You Are Volunteering in Baseball. If, and only if, all possible topics of conversation about your four-year-old’s savant giftedness in baseball are exhausted, you may begin a conversation about Where My Clearly-Smarter-Than-His-Peers Preschooler Will Attend Kindergarten. (Just a tip: when you talk about Mexican children, refer to them as “Non-English Speakers”. This makes it sound less racist when you prattle on about how you don’t want your kids in school with them).
8. Thou Shalt Practice At Home.
Again, this is serious business. Weekly practice are not nearly enough to teach your child the skills they will need to be a serious t-ball player. You will need to practice at home – daily. The coach will remind you of this every week, and give you tips for things to work on at home. How else are they gonna make the major leagues?
9. Thou Shalt Bribe Their Motivation with Sweets
10. Thou Shalt Suck It Up