The cleave in the sports world breaks as clean as a perfectly cut diamond.
On one side are sports without a team mom. On the other are sports with a team mom.
As revolutionary and forward thinking as the sixties and seventies were, there were no team moms.
The closest thing was the school nurse, but she didn’t stay for practice. After her came the team manager. He was usually the water guy, the emergency guy, the go-get-it guy.
It was the best way to be around sports without getting hurt.
By all the concussions and conversations about concussions today, it’s probably the best job in sports.
Then team mom took it to a whole ‘nother level.
If she was a coach’s wife and they had a kid on the team, she was another assistant helping out. Imagine eighth grade football team mom, her kid playing quarterback, taking the line through blocking drills.
She wants it done right. Her son wants it done right. Some of the linemen are not up to the challenge and she lets them have it. Every dad in hearing range dropped for twenty when she dropped the team.
While coach’s wife is an extreme practice team mom, she doesn’t get down in the hole and go one on one with the linemen to prove a point. But her husband does. With no pads or helmet he dropped into his three point stance against a future D-1 prospect already listed at 6’3″, 240lbs.
The idea of driving a large boy in football gear is bad enough. Dominating him in front of his teammates is worse.
At least team mom doesn’t go that far.
Before the team mom, women were relegated to simple sports moms. They came to games with their husband and friends and watched their kids play. But that’s not always enough.
One night a sports mom excused herself from her group and suited up for a run at history. Somehow, the mom got the team manager to set aside a game uniform, including pads and cleats. The mom dressed down and took the field with the team.
She went through warm-ups. Then, instead of group drills, she walked behind the offensive line and kicked them in the butt before they fired out. After a few kicks, some kids on the sidelines turned to one of their friends and said, “Is that your mom?”
Parents in football uniforms kicking players on game day may not seem supportive, but it did force limits on the choices parents had.
Be responsible for snacks instead of suiting up and taking the field in front of the home crowd.
Build a phone tree and don’t go too far on a limb.
Invite the parents over for dinner and a coach’s address.
Help hand out gear in the first of the year and collect it after the season.
None of these activities mean you’ve got to tape up before you start and take a whirlpool after.
You don’t need black smears under your eyes or a skull cap under a helmet.
All it takes is being part of the team.
The best moms make the best team moms. They communicate by instinct, provide stuff without being asked, and break down video better than you.
Second to the best mom as team mom is most athletic mom as team mom. They are an extra set of eyes on the field without the mouth. You can trust them when you ask who jumped off sides and no one else can say. And she knows more hand signals than a signaler in the Royal Navy.
The ultimate team mom in all of sports is the former athlete and coach. Her kids are players and she knows the drill. She takes a backseat to the head coach. She knows her place.
This is the mom the coach needs to pay attention to. He needs to treat her like a mentor. Hers are the kids who never raise their hands for the injury report. They wear their bumps and bruises like the badges they are. They compete and win, compete and lose, and stay the same.
Athletes who build on experience, not only wins and losses, stay in sports longer. They cherish the moments, good and bad, theirs or someone else. The drams of success and failure condensed into a tight time frame intoxicates them. They have to know “Who won” so badly they try and influence outcomes through their play.
Then they grow up, get married, and have kids who play point guard in every basketball game, quarterback in every football game, and pitch in every baseball game their parent’s coach.
Boomer Team Mom helped even that playing field.