Some of us are more cut out to be parents than others. There are people who just have more patience, better parental instincts, and just a better ability at not letting kids die. For athletes, the idea of how parenting will go could be a lot different than regular people, which is why we will sort of suck at it but ultimately rule at it too. Here are some examples of what being an athlete and a parent could look like for most of us.
What You Thing Will Happen: You’ll need it, but your kid will probably master things a bit faster than most because of your super human genetics.
What Will Happen: You’ll get overly frustrated at your kid’s inability to do simple things after they’ve mastered keeping their head up.
Where Your Athlete Background Will Kick In: As athletes, we are use to pushing ourselves or others. Hard. But if you were a good teammate and a solid athlete, you know that every step of progress takes time. You’ll fail 100 times before you succeed once, and while you got frustrated with yourself repeatedly, you loved yourself enough and the goal you were after, to push but stay encouraged. Yes, you’ll get frustrated that your son just can’t seem to grasp the idea that squatting in the corner to poop isn’t cool, especially when the his big boy potty is RIGHT THERE…but you’ll understand that just consistently repeating a practice and method will eventually get you where you’re trying to go.
What You Think Will Happen: You’ll be your kids biggest cheerleader and loudest supporter
What Will Happen: You’ll extend your passion onto your kid. Sometimes in an unhealthy way.
Where Your Athlete Background Will Kick In: Remember the way you felt when your non-athlete friend just couldn’t understand why you like to get your sweat on? You felt like he/she was probably stupid. No, they are stupid. Because working out and staying healthy and being athletic is the greatest thing ever. Now realize that you’ll feel that way with your kid in at least one or many capacities. Like take for example, if they don’t like sports at all. GASP! Athletes get super passionate about their goals, and want to share that with others. But that also means you realize how deep a passion can go and how that needs to be nourished. So when your kid rejects a field game for a board game, you’ll be right there to share the enthusiastic conversations on HeroQuest…or whatever games kids play these days.
What You Think Will Happen: Your kid will be super dedicated because you are obviously going to raise a legit kid.
What Will Happen: Your kid will have activity ADD and it’ll make you want to punch a wall.
Where Your Athlete Background Will Kick In: It is easier to teach a kid something you yourself have, and have gained from very specific and fun experiences. Kids dive deep into new activities all the time, but because they are involved in so much, they have activity ADD. A lot of people now are taught that you can try something and move on without fully investing yourself if it just seemed too hard. When you’re a true athlete, you’ve gone through the practices, games, off-seasons and seasons that just were not fun. They were hard work or they beat you down or you felt defeated, and yet you stuck with it. For some reason, your dedication to the sport, the time already put in, and yourself pulled you through. Attributes you teach in the field of play often extend into the classroom, on the playground…just day-to-day life. You knowing what dedication looks and feels like, means you’ll be a better teacher than most.
What You Think Will Happen: Again, since your DNA is a step up, you may go through some rough patches but ultimately your kid will be the best on his/her team.
What Could Happen: Your kid rides the bench. Every. Single. Game.
Where Your Athlete Background Will Kick In: You will feel shamed. Your head will hang. You’ll probably let frustration out at some point because you just expected…a mini you. Some parents will resent this, some won’t let it faze them too long, but you’ll feel something. And your kid will feel it too. And for a minute, you’ll be a dick of a parent who is disappointed in your kid because they can’t throw a ball as well as Timmy, or Jenny, or catch as well as Fido. But as an athlete, you practiced many times the conversation of how you can turn this defeat into a later victory. You’ve heard it from coaches, teammates, and your internal voice. You practiced many times specifically for moments like this, when someone younger and more vulnerable than you needs to hear it. Maybe you encourage your kid to keep working hard, or maybe you help them realize they have other skills (hopefully). But you teach them that in the face of defeat, they are still something and not to define themselves by the athlete but by the person who wears the number.
What You Think Will Happen: Your kid will be a winner, and will more than likely win an ESPY while you look on from the audience, tears welling and mouthing “no, you’re the inspiration!”
What Could Happen: Your kid will win some and lose some, more than likely won’t be the next Lebron, but could snag a pretty hearty scholarship.
Where Your Athlete Background Will Kick In: If there is nothing else you learn from being an athlete, its that sometimes the hardest work will come after you’ve proven yourself. Your staying power is just as important as the talent used to get there. That there is always someone working to de-throne you, and that today may be your day but tomorrow could be the worst of them. Victory should be cherished, but not a definition of who you are. You know this, and just as great as the lessons learned in defeat, so too are those learned in victory. Non-athlete parents may not recognize the fine lines that come from this success, or how it can define a person. You know enough about this stuff that you’ll teach your kid everything you can so they aren’t the 40y.o. balding man still wearing his letterman’s jacket rehashing old glory day stories. Also, so your kid isn’t the one being a pompous a$$hole when he/she is named MVP for the 3rd year in a row. Kids suffer from the miraculous feeling of invincibility. Its your job as a parent to let them not only touch a hot burner once to understand pain, but also to warn them of the perils that come from believing they can’t be defeated.
Practices, Growing Up, And the Mundane Things
What You Think Will Happen: Since you’re an athlete, you understand patience and work and commitment so you believe you’ll get great at pretty much everything even if it takes a few years. If you struggle with babies, you okay it with yourself because you know you’ll be great with teenagers. You’ll be able to coach little leagues, advise on the struggles of puberty by making sports analogies. Instruct how to get a guy to like you through sports analogies. Teach the complexities of the solar system through, well, sports analogies. You’ll probably rock this parenting thing better than most, while keeping your svelte figure, and maintaining a chill demeanor.
What Will Happen: You’ll realize this is the hardest thing ever, and not everything can be explained through a sports analogy.
Where Your Athlete Background Will Kick In: You’ll realize that just like every dribble in the gym alone created your signature double crossover, and how everything you ate contributed to your performance, so too do the mundane things in your (and your kid’s) life create the human being you’ve dreamed of. You’ll find teaching moments in everything, just like that one amazing coach way back when did, and you’ll dig your heels into this parenting thing because you absolutely love getting better at something. You’ll relive every crushing defeat of practice when your kid has somehow smeared poop on the walls again, and you’ll relearn patience all over again after the umpteenth time your daughter caught an attitude for literally no reason. You’ll find new analogies when you realize your kid doesn’t learn the same way you do. You’ll learn the most important lesson any athlete can learn: doesn’t matter how naturally good you are or aren’t, you never know everything and you have a lot to learn. And thats when the parenting thing gets fun, when you look and realize you’re on a team all learning together…you just happen to be wearing the captain’s symbol.