The Cheering Section

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Whether it is baseball or basketball, hockey or golf, there is a receptive audience in my house for any and all sporting events. My husband, Murv, and our son, Ian, can usually be found cheering on one of their favorites or rooting against a team they dislike.

My preference is a television newsmagazine, movie, or swapping out TV altogether for a great book. Early in our marriage, my mother-in-law pulled me aside to advise me that it would be in my best interest to become a sports fan, too. It's taken nearly 16 years but I now enjoy sports on television-in moderation.

I do make a distinction between watching sports on TV or listening to sports talk radio in the car and supporting Ian in his sporting endeavors. Like most of you, I love to support my child. So far, he's tried flag football, baseball and basketball. You could find me on the sidelines at just about every game (you could also hear me, too!).

There is always action on the field or baseball diamond as the kids compete and then turn to make sure parents are watching. Of course, there are some distractions for the children, too: grass that needs to be pulled, dirt in need of kicking, and even conversations with teammates.

Don't discount the sidelines-we have a good time there as well. In fact, Ian has been fortunate enough to be on teams where the parents (and even grandparents) are friendly, fun and supportive. It makes a difference when you're watching your son or daughter develop skills, learn to be a good sport and, yes, even make mistakes or lose. This past winter Murv coached Ian's basketball team which was filled with his schoolmates. Aside from the fact that I'm always amazed at how fast children grow up, we watched our children each week grow into confident and competent basketball players. It is also easy to enjoy basketball, an indoor sport-the weather concerns were few.

There is also a fair amount of bonding that goes on among the mothers on the sidelines. We enjoyed each other's company and stayed focused on the reason we were there: to cheer for the team and stay positive in the face of victory or defeat. If only it were that simple. Our boys had a sort of unwritten rule to which moms were expected to adhere. It was an absolute 'no-no' to yell out any pet names ("honey" or "sweetheart," for example). It seems that just yesterday we were all in toddler playgroups encouraging our kids to socialize and share. Now, we're lamenting middle school and the challenges of socializing and fitting in-or not.

By season's end, it was great to see the boys hit the court with more and better skills than they had at the start of the season. Their spirit of teamwork was contagious and inspiring to Team Mom, which is ready for the next endeavor, no matter if it is on or off the field of play.

-Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD