Mom is Another Word for Sports Fan

My first reaction after reading today’s prompt regarding an interesting memory from a sporting event was that there was no way I’d be able to answer it. After all, I must admit that I’m not a great sports fan. It’s just not my thing to attend football, basketball, baseball, or hockey games. My husband and son attend these sorts of sporting events together, but I’d rather go to a movie, the ballet, an orchestra concert, or the museum.

But then I remembered, I’m a mom! What about all those years raising my kids and attending their baseball, football, hockey, and soccer games? What about all the trips to their karate tournaments and gymnastic meets? Surely there must be some interesting memory lurking in the back of my mind.

As I thought more about it, I realized just how many there were. There was the time that our son Joe hit a grand slam home run in a baseball tournament, resulting in the winning point for the game. The memories of this moment  brought back feelings of pride and joy. I also remembered the time that unruly parents were ejected from our son’s hockey game after an argument broke out between parents, coaches, and game officials. Talk about drama! But the interesting moment that I’d like to tell you about happened at our daughter Sarah’s karate tournament.

Sarah karate photo

Sarah, Karate Tournament, Age 8

Our daughter Sarah began taking instruction in karate when she was seven. We were quite surprised that our little girl, the one who was such a beautiful dancer, turned out to be the one who would be a fierce karate competitor. Sarah learned how to kick and deliver karate blows, chops, punches and moves like she’d been born to it. She practiced day and night and quickly became one of the leaders in her karate class. When it came to handling the karate bow, she was fast, smooth, and graceful. She also loved learning how to use the karate nunchucks and soon became adept in their use.

It wasn’t long before Sarah was ready to enter karate tournaments, and she was quite willing to do so. Sarah has always been a competitor at heart, eager to face any opponent to test her skills. I guess she takes after me in that respect.

At this particular tournament, Sarah found a place to sit next to the other girls her age waiting for their turns to compete. Sarah’s always been a very outgoing and social person and makes friends quite easily, so on this occasion, it was no surprise that she was chatting with the other girls around her as they watched the tournament together. There were smiles and giggles and you could tell from watching them that their impression of Sarah was that she was a nice person, and certainly no threat to them whatsoever. Then they called Sarah’s name. It was her turn to compete.

She picked up her karate bow and entered the ring. We watched as she took a deep breath, let it out, and then her entire demeanor changed. Right before our very eyes, the sweet, smiling, friendly little girl we had watched only moments before vanished and in her place was a fierce karate competitor. Her eyes were steely with cold and unfriendly determination and the only way I can describe the expression on her face is mean. She began her karate routine and every kick, every lunge, every move with the bow was fraught with determination and accuracy. Her karate yells were loud and deep. All I could think was that I wouldn’t want to tangle with her in a dark alley. And then I shifted my gaze over to the girls that Sarah had been conversing with only moments before. You should have seen the looks on their faces. They ranged anywhere from shocked to nervous to worried. I think they were shocked because Sarah had never given them the impression that she would be this type of competitor, nervous because now they’d have to follow her performance, and worried because maybe they wouldn’t have a chance of winning.

Sarah was amazing. But what was even more amazing was that as soon as she finished her routine and took her karate bow, her beautiful little girl face reappeared, as if by magic. At this point I will tell you that our daughter Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts. I think she must have been doing a little bit of acting when she was in that karate ring! Well, it certainly helped because she won that karate tournament, and many more that followed.

Remember when I wrote at the beginning of this entry that I’m not a great sports fan? Well, as a mom, I guess I was. I think that when you’re a mom, you wind up being a little bit of everything – secretary, chauffeur, nurse, housekeeper, cook, maid, teacher, coach, and the list goes on. You might as well add sports fan to the list.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.” ~ Lisa Alther


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