Summer sports season is finally well underway - and I couldn't be happier.
For our family, summer evenings have long meant endless hours at the soccer field or baseball diamond cheering one or another or both of our older boys on in their sports, often with one or the other of us volunteering as a coach or assistant.
It's a very busy schedule with practices or games almost every weeknight and most weekends. Both boys have played soccer every year since they were four, and until this year one or both played baseball as well. It takes a massive mid-winter scheduling effort to coordinate the separate sports, separate teams, separate fields, and separate nights when organizing our summer schedule. With our oldest playing rep soccer this year and its three-day-a-week commitment (plus tournaments!) there simply wouldn't have been enough days in the week so he had to choose his sport.
It makes for a hectic schedule, particularly in the spring while school's still on; the after-school rush of backpacks-homework-snacks overlapping with early dinner prep, uniforms on and water bottles filled and waiting by the door, sitting down to eat the moment my husband gets home from work, and racing across town to a different field every night. It's even more hectic now that we have a rep player in the family with away games spread out across the GTA. From May to September our lives are dictated by the team schedules. The trunk of our car is permanently filled with baseball gloves and batting helmets, soccer balls and shinguards, folding chairs and an outdoor blanket and a case of water bottles. My husband has to text as he's leaving the office each day just to find out where we need to be and when on any given night. It's crazy.
And we love it.
For our family, this is what summer nights have come to mean.
Hours spent spread out on the picnic blanket next to the ball diamond with toys and snacks and books to keep our other kids entertained while we lean back and bask in the late evening sun and cheer on our little athlete and his teammates; racing to claim the good spot on the sideline at centre field then taking turns watching the child on the field from the folding chairs and kicking the ball around with the other kids behind the goal line; idle chit-chat with other parents we barely know but will be spending three or four hours a week with for the next four months (or, in the case of rep families, six to twelve hours a week for ten months); and the magical sound of the ice cream truck's tinkling music as it rolls across the gravel parking lot just before the end of the game.
This year neither my husband nor I are coaching, assistant coaching, organizing or coordinating anything. We get to just sit back and watch the games and practices and play with our other kids and enjoy how much our little guys enjoy their sports. It might be not the most relaxing way to spend the summer, between the crazy schedule, commuting, carpooling and coordinating, and the time and cost commitment - but we wouldn't ever want to spend it any other way.
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