Friday, June 3, 2016


"Chin up," a coach said to him. "You had a great season."

"Hey, that's a great time, nothing to feel bad about," another coach said to him.

Peyton ran a personal best in the two-mile event at the county track meet, which was the largest middle school track meet in the country. It was a great time. But not great enough to be on the podium so Peyton was disappointed and mad at himself. He came in 11th place.

But there's more to this story, for him and me. 

In the pictures I post of my kids playing sports (baseball, basketball, softball, football, track, etc.) I use the hashtag #sportsmom. I use it because it's cute. I also use it because whether I like it or not, I am a sports mom. (There are times I don't, times when the games are too rough (football!) or intense (parts of travel baseball!) or the other parents are yelling and it makes me uncomfortable.)

Being a #sportsmom for almost a decade now has taught me a few things.  It has taught me that sports are more than the medals and podiums. Sports can be about building character and resilience and integrity. And that is what Peyton has.

Peyton, my kid who suffered a severe and scary concussion at school last spring and then broke his freaking femur in a football game last fall. He had surgery and pins and plates and a wheelchair for few months and physical therapy. He is the kid that didn't complain once. He is the kid that worked hard in physical therapy. He is the kid whose only question for his surgeon at a follow-up appointment was "do you think I can run track this year?"  

He works hard.

The goal of getting back on the track motivated him to not feel sorry for himself. It's what got him moving as soon as the doctor cleared him to walk last January.

At the beginning of track season he was worried he wouldn't be able to run as well as he had last year. I was worried that the hardware in his leg wouldn't hold up and he would collapse on the track. Being a #sportsmom isn't for the weak. It involves a lot of worry, and sometimes irrational fear.

He didn't collapse that first track meet. I cried with relief and gratitude. 

Being a #sportsmom you just want your kid to be happy and feel good.
That's why yesterday my heart felt a bit heavy for him because I knew he was disappointed that he didn't get on the podium. But then I was like wait a minute....this kid made it. His goal was to run track. He did it, and he did it well. 

I love that he loves to compete. I love that he works hard. I love that he takes things seriously and wants to continually improve in whatever sport he is playing. All of that dedication carries over into other areas of his life (like the whole broken leg).

I was so happy to see him smiling at the end of the night.

Being a #sportsmom has taught me that sports are more than your own kid. It's about watching them support their friends and teammates. It's about encouraging them to compete and make each other better. It's about being happy when their friends reach or exceed their goals. It's about lifting up the other moms that are worried and feeling their kid's pain (I learned last fall about the power of mom support after Peyton broke his leg, the love was fierce and I felt it and appreciated it so much).  

Yesterday Peyton didn't make it onto the podium, but one of his good friends did. It happened to be the friend that ran with him in a relay last year. A friend that ran with him during the summer to stay fresh for the track season. A friend that carried his crutches for him and held doors open for him for months at school. 

These boys. 

I sat next to his mom (and my good friend) yesterday at the county track meet and we cheered together. We celebrated her son on the podium. She gave me knowing looks when I was worried about Peyton. We worried together about our boys. We wanted them to be happy. We wanted them to get the bigger picture and know how proud we are of them. We wanted them to drink enough water and Gatorade. We wanted them to know how much we love them. Because we are #sportsmoms.

This is my fellow #sportsmom and good friend hugging her son. It pretty much sums it all up.

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