My son Bradley was 4 years old when he was running and dribbling up and down the soccer field. There were times when kids on the other teams would just stand there like pylons not doing anything as Bradley would dart right between them. Sometimes, Bradley even made contact with them because the kids weren’t moving.
It’s not like he was Pele or anything, but he was just excited and passionate to play sports. It was clear Bradley wasn’t afraid to mix it up and it was becoming apparent that maybe soccer wasn’t the right sport for him, especially in the fall.
“This kid needs to play football,” said my wife Sheryl in June of 2010 while she was pregnant and getting ready to give birth to our younger son, Jared.
Yes, those words came out of the mouth of a mother, and she put her money where her mouth was as Sheryl, not me, found a local youth football program that had a “peanut” instructional division. Bradley was on the football field at age four and nine years later he is still playing football but has also participated in baseball, lacrosse, wrestling, and street hockey.
My younger son Jared is also busy on the fields and courts participating in flag football and street hockey. He’s currently playing baseball and just the other night unloaded an early Mother’s Day present for Sheryl, a three run double that blew the game wide open. The whole at bat was a microcosm of what Sheryl means to our boys when they’re playing sports.
Jared is always well prepared for his games because his uniform is always clean, he always has the proper supplemental clothing to go along with his uniform, his baseball bag is always complete with all of his equipment along with a drink and sunflower seeds, and he listens to everything that Sheryl tells him on the drive over to the game
It helps to be married to a big sports fan because I tend to talk in sound bytes…not a surprise considering what I do for a living. Sheryl always knows just what to say to both of our kids and that just scratches the surface when you sum up what kind of a sports mom she is.
Sheryl is the ultimate sports mom and she, along with all the other sports moms, deserves some extra recognition as Mother’s Day approaches. While dads like me spend time talking strategy with the kids (and to be fair, Sheryl knows more about sports than some guys I know), it’s the sports mom like Sheryl who is the brains behind the operation.
When it’s time for the boys to get dressed for practice or a game, they look to Sheryl to help them get their uniforms and gear on. Mouthpieces are ready to go if applicable, lunches are packed if it happens to be a day trip to play wherever, the cleats are clean if they happened to have been filled with mud the game before, and there’s always a bag of snacks that accompany this family on a sports trip.
And that also goes for when we attend a professional sporting event. Sheryl always makes sure that we have everything ready to go. She is beyond a shadow of a doubt the general manager, head coach, manager, equipment manager, trainer, nutritionist, and public relations director of this sports-crazed family.
She will remind me when registrations have to be completed for various sports, what needs to be purchased at the sporting goods store, and when it’s our turn to bring the snacks for the team. Sheryl memorizes the schedule within minutes after we receive it, and she’ll notify family members when the boys are playing. When she goes food shopping or when she gives me the list to go, she makes sure there are things on the list that are needed for practices and games.
Over the years, many of the other parents have looked to Sheryl for guidance with things like buying cleats, mouthpieces, sticks, and gloves as well as tips on getting those really bad stains off the pants and other parts of the uniform.
“How do you get the uniform so clean?” is a common question that other moms pose to Sheryl.
At the practices and games, Sheryl doesn’t just sit there and socialize with the other parents. (Although, to be fair, that can be fun sometimes!) She’s actually watching what’s happening because, as it should be with any parent, it’s important to know what’s going on. She gets it. Sheryl knows her sports, so she’ll ask me questions and she’ll talk to the other dads (and some moms) about strategies and things like that.
Bradley and Jared are two very lucky boys. They have the greatest Mom in the world when it comes to everything in life, especially at home and with everything we do. That includes sports because Sheryl is a model “Sports Mom.” She does everything for them and makes sure they don’t walk out the door for practice or a game without being ready for the day.
I should also mention that I’m a pretty lucky “Sports Dad” because of everything Sheryl does for the boys and the family. Maybe I take it for granted once in a while, but I do appreciate everything she does because without her, I don’t know how we would function.
There is a sign in our house says, “We interrupt this family for football season” but that sign could about just about every other sport.
Happy Mother’s Day to Sheryl, the greatest “Sports Mom” in the world! Not many Moms would have that sign hanging in the house. It’s one of the many reasons why the boys and I love you!