Confessions of a Dugout Mom
I am a Dugout Mom, and I know your Daughter.
You are pissed because your daughter got moved from 3rd base to left field! It's easy to feel the steam coming out of your ears from anywhere on the field. What you don't know, and what you don't want to hear, and what I have promised not to tell you is that your daughter actually made that request. Yep. Turns out now that she is older, she isn't really a fan of third base anymore - And...she's been working hard at playing outfield, ANDDDD she's pretty darn good at it.
My name is Kris and I am a 53 year old dugout mom. I have been employed with a very large California softball league since I was 24 - and have seen thousands and thousands of girls come through the program. Some of them are the girls you may see now in the professional and collegiate levels. My program is one of the largest in California and provides all levels of play. And each season (which is basically all seasons) I have helped coach teams and been in the dugout with these girls forging very close relationships.
I know things.
Adults would be surprised at how much their kids tell coaches and dugout moms. Without any psychology degree, I have served as a counselor to so many young girls in so many capacities by standing beside them through their sport. And through this series, without mentioning any names (because I am sworn to secrecy and would never throw a kid under the bus) I am going to share my Confessions of a Dugout Mom series through Softball is For Girls. (Sidenote: obviously anything life-threatening, harmful, urgent etc. would not be kept a secret, and I only make this disclaimer because I can anticipate the reactions of all the "Karens" that I keep kids secrets secret)
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I'm starting with something no parent wants to hear. (I am a mother of 3, and I don't want to hear it either, even though I know its true.
NEVER SAY YOUR DAUGHTER WOULD NEVER DO/SAY THAT & that YOU KNOW HER BETTER THAN ANYONE UNLESS you ENJOY HUMBLE PIE
As a mom, I hate this one. But it is absolutely true. You know your kids in the capacity of your daughter or however she is related to you. But teachers, coaches and other people that interact with them know them as completely different individuals. You may know the intricacies of their facial expressions, and their history, and loads and loads of other stuff. But I can assure you, no matter who your kid is, you don't really know them as a teammate, a student, etc. I am always surprised at things the girls will say to me, or ask me about that their parents don't know. I am also always shocked about the things they will share with me about their personal lives, that they don't share with the adults in their life. That's not a knock on any parent, it is just how it is.
For instance, when Ladybug I mention up there decided 3rd base was not for her, she started asking to practice outfield during practice. And dang, she was so good at it. Apparently, she wasn't that comfortable playing 3rd anymore and wanted to use her speed for something a little more fun to her. But, she knew that her mom always expected her to play 3rd. She had played there for so long. She even told me, I want to play outfield, but my mom will get mad if I do.
So we just moved her, hoping that watching her awesomeness in action would convince anyone that she was playing where she was the happiest and most comfortable. Even so, as the parents requested a meeting with the coach this is what they said.
She is so upset that she got moved, and you guys have made her feel like she has done something wrong playing 3rd, when she has been a solid defender. I hate that my daughter is so upset about this, and I really would like to know why she was moved without so much as a conversation!"
This little scenario has played out at least once in every season on every team I have ever been a part of. Actually more than once. There are all sorts of lessons to go into here and different angles of which to analyze this scenario. But at it's root - it is often outside influences at a young age that put certain kids in certain positions on the field, and the longer the play, it is only natural for them to be curious about other places. That being said, no kid wants to disappoint their parents, and many young athletes feel that 'quitting' third would do just that.
Even if you empower honesty and make sure your kid knows they can tell you anything and even if you are the best listener in the world - children aren't stupid. They pick up on the way your eyes light up, or the giddy fluctuations in your voice when you are talking about your '3rd baseman"
Stay tuned, and keep following SOFTBALL IS FOR GIRLS for more "Confessions of a Dugout Mom!"