He sits on the bench and I strip him of his sweaty, smelly, cold and wet pads.
I've got nothing else to say.
I'm also sick of hearing myself say the same thing after every game and every practice.
I'd listen to what other parents were saying to their kids. What I heard made me sad.
I heard parents yelling, "Be aggressive!" to their 7-year-old.
Or, "What the hell were you doing out there?"
Or, "If you don't give it your all, we're going to quit."
Or, "I'm paying a lot of money for this, so you're going out there, and you're going to try."
I wish I could tell you that I've never said anything like this. Until I heard someone else say it, though, it didn't feel as UCK.
Now, determined to make every aspect of every sport positive, I'm making a conscious effort to start mixing it up and try saying things he might need to hear in the moment. And most importantly, keeping it upwardly focused and fun.
The lighter and more fun the comments, the lighter my kid's demeanor is. Because the reality is - it's supposed to be fun.
If it doesn't feel good - we're missing the whole point.
And - they're fucking kids. Yes, you might be paying a lot of money. This is both a privilege and a choice. You want to save money? Stay home and watch Netflix.
Here are 10 things to say once you've patted your little sport-kid on the butt and said, "Good game!"
- I had fun watching you today.
- I feel so proud watching you out there.
- I'm so lucky you're my son / daughter.
- Did you have fun?
- How did it feel out there today?
- I can't believe how far you've come since you started!
- Can you show me that [amazing move] later?
- Watching you play [sport] is my favorite thing to do!
- What was your favorite part about today?
- What awesome things did you notice from your teammates?
See what kind of stuff comes up when you're talking. And please, please make sure you're not staring at your phone.
And if your kid isn't talking. Drop it. They're the ones in the arena - not you.
Your job is to pay for it, get them there, and offer your unshakeable support.