Crazy tennis mom has been quiet for some time. Starting a new career can certainly silence a voice but add to that the new-found passion for tennis with one of your kids and …BINGO all creative energy and time has been sucked out of your life. Such a shame too because the stories I could write after spending hour after hour at the tennis courts are incredible!
The story I choose to tell now is my own. My personal journey with fighting the urge to become crazy. My daughter has decided to push herself to become the best tennis player she can be, maybe not a USTA competitive player but a high school varsity player playing at her best. Now I find myself, once again, sitting at the club hour after hour watching her practice and listening to the parents discuss their children’s tennis “career”.
Every day is a challenge for me to fight the urge to become “crazy tennis mom.” I have to bite my tongue to not become a part of the conversations about this child or that child, not engage in the conversations about how so and so thinks she is so good but really nothing more than a pusher. Hold my breath so I don’t engage in the discussion of whether or not “Suzy” deserves the top spot on the varsity team and not become a part of the argument about why we don’t stack our teams lineup after we find out how the other team has lined up their players. In my head I am screaming just let the kids play tennis and have fun! Having been in their shoes before I understand where they are coming from, I understand they are in the heat of the moment and in their mind this truly is the most important thing in their and their child’s life. It will do me no good to tell them anything different because having been there I know they will not hear what I have to say. They will just shake their head and look at me like I don’t get it and wonder why I am here if I don’t want to take this seriously. It isn’t that I don’t take it seriously it is simply that I have a new perspective. A perspective I fight to keep every day I walk into the club with my daughter.
Crazy tennis mom actually heard herself lecture her daughter about having too much fun on the court during clinic. Yes I am not perfect, and like I said, I am fighting crazy every day. I watched from the upper glass as my daughter laughed and danced on the court with her best friend and joked with the coach while she was at clinic. I was finding myself getting more and more upset with her as I looked on. “How can she be focused if she is carrying on like that?” “What a waste of my time and money if all she is going to do is socialize during her practice.” Yes crazy came upon me. What is wrong with having fun and is it really a waste of my time to provide an environment for my daughter to enjoy herself with a group of nice kids?
Crazy tennis mom questioned her daughter about why she wasn’t sweating when she came off the court. I am not proud of it but I actually told her that if she did not come off the court at the end of a practice sweating she didn’t put enough into it. I am not saying that this isn’t true but they way in which the message was delivered was not one of my finer moments. Fighting crazy is an ongoing battle. I feel like an alcoholic who can’t take one drink or she finds herself stumbling around drunk. Thank God I have given my kids the voice they need to remind me of when I am crossing the line.
Keeping myself in check is an ongoing battle. I need to walk that fine line between helping my daughter to become the best she can be and becoming an overpowering and overwhelming tennis parent. One day she came off the court disappointed that she found herself not progressing as well as some of her competitors. She was discouraged and a little whiny, blaming me for not getting her enough private lessons. This was my perfect opportunity to address the issues I had seen with her effort in practice. I nicely explained to her that perhaps it wasn’t the lack of private lessons but the lack of focus and effort she was putting into the time she did have on the court. I asked her if she felt she was really working as hard as she could when she was on the court. I didn’t tell her what I thought but asked her what she thought. I suggested she try to bring her focus and intensity up to another level when she was on the court and see if there was a difference. I also told her that when I saw her taking full advantage of the opportunities she was given I would provide her with the additional instruction.
No harsh words, no degrading of her character, and no breaking of her spirit just conversation to let her come to her own conclusion. It was an opportunity for her to learn what the pay off for hard work is. This is the tennis mom I want to be! My daughter made her own choices. She did agree that she wasn’t trying as hard as she could. She did acknowledge that she wanted to enjoy herself while she was on the court or there wasn’t any purpose of being there. She also decided that she didn’t want to be out worked by her competitors so she pulled up her socks and gave 110% effort. It wasn’t because I wanted her to, it was because she wanted to. What a great life lesson on what it takes to succeed in life, be it on a tennis court or in the corporate world.
This is the crazy tennis mom fighting crazy every day, but knowing that I don’t want to go backwards and the life lessons my daughter learns on the court are more important than anything else.