Day 145 – Uh Oh – The Competitive Sport Moms!

As I sit here on a normal Wednesday evening, I wonder how some people tick. I am sweating at the side of the pool, while my daughter swims lap after lap of swim practice. I feel proud, but hormonally hot (not helped by a poolside temperature of 30 degrees!), and after 15 minutes of supportive smiling and a bit of waving, I disappear to the tennis terrace, which is outside, cool and has refreshments.  My daughter is used to this, and as long as I support the first and the last 15 minutes, she’s happy.

But I have just witnessed the downside to this competitive life.  One mum, from the same school, who never acknowledges or smiles at any of us fellow parents, (expat outsiders or national insiders in the Belgian sports system) has just yelled at her son to swim faster from the stands, in English.  I cringed.  How embarrassing, and so totally unnecessary.  He’s doing his best, and he’s doing well, and I bit my tongue.  I was saved by a call from a friend from work who was in my neighborhood and needing restaurant recommendations!  By the time I came off the phone the moment had passed, but the realization sunk in of how some people live out their dreams their our kids. Encouragement, motivation, a bit of direction and introducing drive and ambition is one thing. But living that poolside competitive ‘mom’ role is only going to lead to heartbreak, disappointment and tears. I want my daughter to do her sport for herself, her club, her school, and if she’s lucky and talented enough, her country (and then the family fighting will start – Belgium/NL/UK!!).  Not for me, my dreams and my missed opportunities….. It’s an important lesson in life, pass the knowledge, but let the little guys live their own dreams.

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