Yo, Privileged Guy At The Tennis Courts

This is for you.

The other day I was sitting at the tennis courts where my kids were attending a group clinic.

I was sitting in the chairs that border the courts. You know, seating for human beings.

There were two other mothers there. We were – like – just sitting. Chatting, really quietly. (And I mean really quietly, because I know how dickwads like you give the coaches everywhere around town such a hard time.)

We were pretty much minding our business.

Then you told us to shut the fuck up. Like animals.

To be clear, you interrupted the mother I was speaking to, mid-sentence, and yelled: “hey ladies, could you take your conversation over to the parent’s area?”

Um.

The other mother said “Oh, sorry, are we being too loud?” And you yelled “just go on down to the parent’s viewing area over there.”

Parent’s area? I didn’t know such a thing existed. I didn’t realize that parents were being segregated from the rest of the more civilized folk. Maybe we are and I just don’t know, but what you were referring to, which you then clarified: the parents area was a group of chairs five courts down, in the dirt.

Hey ladies, could you shut the fuck up and go sit in the dirt?

You very obviously had a hard on for misogynistic undertones, because I also heard you refer to my 15 year old daughter as “blondie.” If I were less classy of a person, I would have told you to shut the fuck up too. But being polite and not wanting to embarrass my kids or the coaches (who deal with enough shit from assbags like you on a daily basis), I returned to my book, and listened to you.

You bitched about children in tennis.

You bitched about not having courts when you want them because of children.

You bitched about children’s sports on the whole. You said children shouldn’t be allowed to play sports until they are in college.

You said the coaches shouldn’t be allowed to support children’s sports.

You griped about how a “council” should be formed to eliminate youth sports altogether from the community, because it bothers you every time you are there playing tennis, or even at the park walking your dog.

Every time a child at the group clinic even uttered the slightest noise – and I mean slightest – you stopped what you were doing (serving, playing out a point, whatever), looked over, and said “REALLY?!”

But I digress. You know what you did.

After you finished your friendly match with a guy who seemed much more decent of a human being than you (though not – clearly – decent enough to call out that “blondie” comment), you guys went in to the clubhouse and ordered beers. Sitting outside, still on the chairs for humans versus the spots in the dirt for the parents, I heard you loudly yelling at the guy serving you that you couldn’t believe he did not know your account number. That of all the people that frequent the place, he couldn’t remember yours.

Yeah, so.

What is so disturbing about this is your sense of privilege. It isn’t that you are more privileged than others – with more wealth or better health, greater opportunities, or whatever. It’s that you believe – like actually believe – that the world is all for you.

That it is actually OK to refer to a child as “blondie.” Ever, in any situation.

That people should be segregated based on their “status” or usefulness? I don’t know, what exactly is it segregating by to separate parents from non-parents?

I read a meme the other day that said “privilege is thinking something is not a problem because it has never personally affected you.”

That’s true. But I think in your case, I would take that a little further.

Privilege is thinking that the whole world is set up specifically for you, and that in your case the rules do not apply. That you can actually say and behave in the way you did that day and get away with it.

Why? I guess because for now you do.

For myself, I’m going to start putting my kids in situations where people like that don’t rule the world. It may be hard to find. Or maybe I will just start speaking up, and speaking out. How else will I teach my kids to stand up to that shit and make a change, instead of quietly turning back to their books and do what the privileged motherfuckers like you demand, just to avoid conflict?

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The Intolerable Sports Parent

Today, like many Saturdays, was consumed by my kids and their sports.

I am among the millions of American parents whose children chose sports activity over something far cooler. Like a Saturday book club or a weekend Thespian Society. My kids are not in band. They are similarly not into something like D&D or other gaming types of clubs.

They are into fitness.

When I was their age, I spent my weekends reading Teen magazine, organizing my Caboodle, trying to tape my favorite songs off the radio without getting all the commercials, and crying into my pillow because my dad wouldn’t buy me a new pair of Rollerblades.

Not my kids, though. They can’t do cool stuff like lounge around all weekend eating Cheetos and watching reruns of Saved By the Bell.

Nope.

It’s only after you are knee deep in strings, racquets, and the mounting costs that come with it all, that you realize just how much single sports specialization becomes a way of life. The question every morning when we are getting ready for the day is: are we playing tennis today? Today, in 2019, the kids that pick one sport essentially devote all their free time to doing that sport. And if your kids get really into it, entire weekends, holidays, and vacations are reserved for – you guessed it – tournaments.

All complaining aside: I do love that my kids have found something that they have a passion for. There are a lot of kids (and I mean a lot) that sort of flounder around from thing to thing, until they eventually succumb to complacent boredom. Nothing good can come of a kid (especially an older one) that is bored. Tennis, for my kids, has not only curbed boredom; it’s kept them healthy, taught them about caring for their bodies, helped reduced school-related stress, and brought them into a social setting with other kids that have similar interests.

But by God if the parents don’t suck the fucking life out of it sometimes.

Honestly. These parents that put their kids in sports are the most intolerable of the bunch. And I recognize the irony in the sense that I – too – am a parent that has put my kids into sports.

But I definitely see myself apart from the pack.

1. I don’t coach my kid.

You can always tell you are dealing with the intolerable sports parent when you roll up to the tennis court and see that they are coaching their own kid. Even parents that played in college probably shouldn’t be coaching their kid (unless, of course, we are talking about a sport like baseball where the dad volunteers to be the coach for the team – an entirely different circumstance altogether).

I know parents that know absolutely nothing about tennis whatsoever and insist that they are their kid’s coach.

I know parents that bust out Youtube videos to show their kids a new stance for serving or hitting a backhand.

I know parents that will stand there and argue with their kid about what is right and wrong in the game. That will do this not only on the public court on a Saturday afternoon, but in front of a large group of other people at a tournament. The kid just lost, usually badly, and the dad is standing there lecturing about the racket head being closed instead of open.

We get it: a lot of professional tennis players have parents for coaches. But your kid isn’t Serena Williams, nor are you Serena and Venus’s dad.

2. I also don’t push my kid into positions they are ill-prepared ready for.

My kids play team tennis. Team tennis parents are the worst.

Granted, we have made friends with a lot of team tennis families over the years; but there are always those few that seem to have made it their mission in life to ruin the team experience for everyone.

Usually they are mothers, and typically they think they are auditioning for Dance Moms, at least when it comes to the high key drama and the nonstop shit talking.

Typically their names are something like Tammy, Tiffany, Brenda, Debra, Linda, Tobi, or Jenipher – spelled, emphatically, with a “ph.”

Speak to the manager haircuts are not required, but almost always a part of the get up.

This intolerable sports parent makes the situation unbearable for everyone else by trying to push her kid into a place the kid isn’t really ready for.

Why isn’t my kid playing #1 singles?

Why isn’t my kid playing singles AND doubles?

Why did we even come if my kid isn’t going to play the top position?

I’ll admit, there have been times that I have gotten annoyed when my kids are put at the bottom place week after week after week after week. But my annoyance usually isn’t because I expect them to play at the top, rather I am just tired that they are shit on by way of these overbearing, intolerable sports parents stepping on them to make their under qualified kid the star.

3. I don’t act crazy or loud at the matches.

It really doesn’t matter what sport your kid plays: there is no reason in the fucking universe why you should be acting crazy or loud in the stands.

One time, my oldest daughter was on a tennis team and there was a mother that would bang her fist on the table and scream at plays she didn’t like (either from her daughter or her daughter’s opponent – she was not discretionary at whom she screamed).

That same lady, one time, went totally ballistic because her kid was placed in doubles, and literally fell on the floor crying. Fell. On. The. Floor.

It was fodder for a bad reality TV show, at best; and to this day, I have not since seen anything so extreme.

We used to live in a townhome complex across from a soccer field, and every Saturday would wake up to the sounds of parents getting into outright brawls over something that had happened during the game. A yellow card or red card was pulled and parents would start screaming at each other, then two mildly obese men in Raiders t-shirts and Levi jeans would be rolling around, fists flying.

Once, at a tennis match, my younger daughter’s coach walked in late (having come from another match) and stepped right into a huge circle of parents and coaches that were screaming at each other about who was actually allowed to call balls out. At one point I heard someone yell “is this a racial thing,” to which another person said “no I’m Mexican but apparently my skin isn’t brown enough” and several people walked (no, ran) away.

Even the parents that cheer too loudly seem to be intolerable at a point. It’s one thing to clap or be happy for your kid; it’s another to stand up and scream like it’s the Super Bowl.

On one hand, I get it: sports, like everything else, costs a lot of money. Like more than a lot. For my two, oldest kids, our cost runs about $280 a week, and that does not include the strings, rackets, clothing, bags, grips, shoes, etc. that are replaced at least every other month, some every week.

So when you are putting out this fuckton of money, I can see how some parents could want some sort of a return for the money.

In truth, I think it’s really about the fact that some parents are living out their wildest fantasies through their children.

Because let’s face it: a lot of us didn’t grow up in a time where kids and their activities are so at the center of a parent’s universe. We were sent outside with our bikes and a stick; and, sure, some of us played a sport, but it wasn’t a daily thing like it is now. What we did daily was homework and Nintendo and hanging out with our friends.

And, if I’m being honest, our parents didn’t expect so much from us.

Or maybe I have a skewed memory of it all and my parents were intolerable sports parents when I was in t-ball or, later, tennis as well. I’m sure they existed in some way or another. Maybe there was a fight or two in the stands I was just completely oblivious to.

Or maybe me being so against living through my children and berating them after a bad match; or choosing to give my kid some space while they play, and keep quiet when I do watch, is the actual enemy. My lax approach to this whole thing really unsupportive; my insistence that my kids just enjoy themselves and have fun being just another example in a series of times I’ve missed the point. Maybe I’ve misunderstood the right and the wrong of this whole thing, and the only intolerable sports parent is me.


Yes, I Am Allowed To Take a Vacation. So Are My Kids.

Something really weird happened to me today.

My kids and I are on vacation. I know, shocker. Everyone else takes a vacation and there are photos and stories and Instagrams and Snapchats and canceled plans – “sorry, going to be in Cabo that week!”

I take a vacation and everyone acts like I’ve gone on a two week cocaine bender and spent the electric bill money on a balloon of heroin.

My kids wanted one thing for Christmas: a trip somewhere. Anywhere. We so infrequently leave the area, and having just about everything under the sun they could ever imagine or want, it’s what they naturally asked for. I had a trip planned that was drivable, in our Christmas budget, and would involve stuff they enjoy (shopping, tennis, waterpark, etc.).

Then as Christmas neared, it all sort of fell apart.

First, my dad had surgery on his hip and it was taking much longer to recover than planned. That meant he would need someone to stay home with him.

My husband was SWAMPED at work, I mean swamped; so a vacation was not exactly ideal for him either.

But the kids and I were still all about it; packing and getting those little travel sized bottles of our toiletries…we were just about ready and the day was swiftly nearing for us to leave, then my oldest daughter hurt her knee and rendered herself un-vacation-able.

The resort was nice enough to refund me our entire booking, and I quickly sprung into action to salvage Christmas. I filled the bottom of the tree with some basic gifts I knew my kids would appreciate, and started trying to plan a substitute vacation that wouldn’t require so much physical activity on her knee.

I mean…a trip was what they asked for, and had already been promised…

So I said I would take them to El Segundo to shop and stay for a few days before the holidays; that didn’t pan out because Christmas chaos got in the way. Then I thought *well how about Solvang for New Years.* Didn’t happen. My kids started getting that whole *things Mom promises never come true* air about them, though, so you guys can imagine my delight when both of their tennis teams got invited to the section championships…

…in the same exact place our original trip was planned for (only further out enough in weeks for my daughter’s injury to heal).

Easy peasy, right?

So I got back on the horn with our reservations and the plans; I kicked our activities planning and packing back into full swing. I had an entire bag of those travel sized toiletry things now. My dad and husband’s restrictions were still in place, but that wasn’t going to stop us this time.

So on Tuesday, we headed out. And we are here now.

But I’ll be honest with you guys: I’m not really enjoying it.

We slept really late yesterday, and I woke up feeling like shit. Not like I was ill, but like I should have been up doing things.

We are on vacation and all I could think about was doing the laundry and wiping down the counters.

I took the kids to explore the town a little. We came four days ahead of the rest of their team mates, so we have time to kill and there is a lot to do here. Because my kids play tennis and we’ve never been to the BNP Paribas, I took them to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to have a look around. We headed out to the Living Desert Zoo. Then we ended our day on a local court so they could get in some pre-tournament practice.

I felt awful the whole time. Same thing: others are still up at home working, going to school, doing their chores. And we have the gall to be here enjoying ourselves?

Today – Thursday – has been no different. I woke up feeling unsettled. Like we needed to be doing things. Productive things, not enjoyable things. Not relaxing things.

Definitely not relaxing.

My kids homeschool, so they aren’t missing school or anything; and actually they worked on school all through the public school Christmas break. So while other people we knew were in Hawaii and Cancun and Cabo and Chicago and Bali and Thailand and Big Bear and Aspen, we were at home doing school work and canceling our own plans.

Still, I woke up looking for educational things around the area we could do. Because I just feel like I shouldn’t be taking breaks, from anything.

Why is that?

Then today it came to me, like an epiphany: I feel like shit because I am still letting others influence my feelings and thoughts.

I still let other people’s comments affect how I live my life.

I still let other people’s negativity impact my knowing that how I’m raising my kids is the right way for us.

In the weeks and days that led up to us leaving this past Tuesday, I found myself explaining over and over again to every person I saw just why, how, and what was the reasoning behind us going to the tournament early.

And to be fair, people often questioned or commented or even demanded answers.

“Oh I wish I could afford to go early” – from someone that spent their Christmas in Mexico.

“Wow, must be nice to not have kids in school so you can do whatever you want” – from someone whose middle schooler skipped the first week of school this year to go to Europe.

I counted a whopping 15 questions and comments as I sat here this morning, from people we have seen or talked to over the last few weeks, that were all along those lines.

This is my perpetual dilemma, and it’s weird and I’m tired of it. No one else feels they have to ask permission or explain themselves for the way they live their lives to me. So why do I?

Today I realized that it’s perhaps just the aftermath of all the years of me putting myself in this defendable position. The tangled mess of those years of opening myself up to the judgment and opinions of others won’t unwind overnight. For whatever reason, I still don’t allow myself to enjoy my life. Which is a shame, because I’m teaching my children to do the same.

I fell down in my quest to enjoy life unjudged and in peace this last week or two, when I apologetically explained and defended to everyone that asked just why we would have the gall to do something so heinous as go on vacation. But, I’m correcting that right now before it’s too late.


Something really weird happened to me today. I caught myself allowing old habits to creep up and ruin this experience. I am allowed to take a vacation. So are my kids. The details of it – where we are going, why we are staying there, how we can do such a thing when other people are at school and work – is just a fact of life.

My Kids’ Sports Are Starting To Drive Me Insane

This month – May – is National Tennis Mom’s Month. At least that’s what the USTA says, and since May is Mother’s Day, it makes sense.

I am a tennis mom. I drive my kids hundreds of miles a week, spend close to $2000 a month, and live my life on the sidelines as my kids do what they love with their free time.

I even have the ‘Tennis Mom’ decal on the rear window of my SUV.

To be clear: they love it, and it’s the only reason I am doing it. That doesn’t change the ever-increasing fact that their sport-of-choice is starting to drive me a little insane. Last night, while picking up the house and finishing the day’s chores, I decluttered a drawer in the kitchen and took Marie Kondo’s advice so literally to heart that I was – out loud – saying thank you to the things I threw in the trash, the things in the junk drawer which no longer brought me joy.

That was the moment when I started to see the cracks forming in my mental health. I blame it on the kids and their sports.

 

A Lot Of Parents Are Living Through Their Kids

…so much so that it’s the de facto assumption of all parents.

So many people at this point assume that I am forcing my kids to play tennis, and it makes me really mad. Like REALLY mad. Like ANGRY mad. Because along with it comes comments like “you need to stop forcing them to play every day.”

Or straight up asking my kids if they like tennis. The other day, my daughter was working with a coach and when she got in the car after the lesson was over, she said “he asked me if I liked tennis.” That’s an odd question to ask of someone he’s been working with for close to a year now. Why the fuck else would she be out there practicing, attending clinics, playing tournaments, and taking lessons?

My kids are not easy to force into any situation. Putting their shoes away involves a twenty minute argument in which I have to reason with them over and over again about all the reasons why their shoes need to be put away. If my kids didn’t like tennis, if I were truly forcing them, cattle prods and massive bribes would be involved. I would have to threaten my kids with no dinner for an entire week to get them out of the car at the court, and even then they would probably consider the merits of one less meal a day if it meant not having to do something they didn’t want to.

What I’m saying is that it isn’t easy to force my kids into anything. And, moreover, that I’m therefore obviously not having to force them to play tennis.

It’s Starting To Feel Like Everyone Is Trying to Rip Me Off

Last summer, I paid for a week long tennis training camp that was only fulfilled for one day. After that, the coach had to “go out of town” and promised he would reschedule the remaining four days.

He has yet to reschedule it.

Routinely, I take my kids to local clubs for clinics, and they always have these deals. Like buy X number of clinics for X number of dollars, which is discounted from the one-at-a-time price. That, I have quickly learned, though, requires an enormous amount of bookkeeping and arguing. One club has been so bad about it that I’ve paid hundreds of dollars for a month’s worth of clinics, only for my kids to show up a week later being told we owe them money.

I probably have twenty stories like these of me shelling out dough, only for it to come up with no, or less-than-promised, services rendered. Is it because tennis is traditionally a sport of the wealthy, so people just assume the payees won’t even notice they’re being ripped off? Or is this just how things are now?

There Are a Lot Of Terrible Coaches

Playing a sport in college does not implicitly qualify a person to go on to call themselves a coach of said sport.

I think this is the primary reason why, in any sport – and especially tennis – there are a lot of really bad coaches. Coaching is another word for teaching, so unless you have some subsequent training in teaching, psychology, sociology, or whatever, it seems wrong to be able to just say “yeah I’m a coach.” Because you aren’t.

In tennis, anyone can *technically* declare themselves a pro, but there are also designated exams for certification as such. I don’t take my kids to anyone that lacks one of those certifications. Beyond the fact that if I’m paying good money for them to play, I should at least be able to get someone actually qualified on paper; there’s also just the simple idea that putting my kids in the hands of someone under-qualified seems – well – dumb. Right?

The real thing is that you sometimes don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of people lie about their qualifications in an effort to justify their coaching. There’s a woman who plays in local leagues, that – it is rumored – played in college; and now I’m hearing her tell people she’s a pro. Uh…really? Because the registry of pros is actually public and, well, you aren’t. That doesn’t stop other people from going to her, though; and – I’m sure eventually – a lot of kids will quit playing the sport altogether, simply because this unqualified lady that happens to play in a local league decided one day she needed some extra cash and could give lessons to innocent people that don’t know any better.

So Much Money, and So Much Driving

As I said, between the two kids, it’s close to $2000 a month, when all is said and done. Playing a sport isn’t just showing up and doing it. You have equipment, travel, clothing; then all the add ons. In tennis, you can’t just do the lessons, you have to do the clinics too. And you get to a point when the standard issue clinics aren’t that good anymore, so you have to upgrade to more elite clinics (elite = a lot more expensive). And then you’ve got to do a certain number of tournaments, join teams, play in leagues – all with hefty fees; have a back up racket for the tournament; new strings every couple weeks. Your shoes wear out in a couple months. Then everyone tells you the only way to get better is to play matches against players better than you; but the players better than you don’t want to do that shit for free.

All of that for two kids.

And because they are so far apart in age (four years), a lot of times they are on different sides of the county, with only one Mom to handle their transport.

I read an article recently that the nature of youth competitive sports in America is essentially pricing your average kid out of having the opportunity to do it. Either the cost or the ability to travel around, or both, make it near impossible for most kids to play. Knowing the ramifications of kids that need sports to stay out of trouble doesn’t lower the prices, either. In fact, the knowledge that everyone price gouges youth competitive sports now seems to only justify it.

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The silver lining in all of this is that my kids really love to play tennis. Sometimes I have to force them – against their little wills – to take a day off. Next to their schoolwork and the various household pets (two dogs, one guinea pig, and two fish), tennis is everything to them.

Which is why, as crazy making as it is, I do it all. May is Tennis Moms Month, you say?

 

Well, I Guess I’m Not the Cool Mom Anymore

 

Today was the last day of tennis camp.

I did not send treat bags for all the kids.

I did not bake cookies shaped and decorated as tennis balls.

I did not bring special activities to add to the camp fun, like bubbles or hula hoops.

I drove up in my SUV, and did not get out. I was in my pajamas and slippers. I pulled to the curb. I said goodbye for the day. That was pretty much the extent of my part.

I sat there – in my car and dressed in pajamas – and watched one of this year’s Cool Moms schlep 40 pool noodles in for the each of the kids. I thought it was sweet of her, as she then returned to her car to take out two crates of cupcakes. She took one out and gave it to another Cool Mom – who had brought treat bags for all the kids. The cupcake had a fondant tennis racket on the top of it.

I thanked my lucky stars I’m not the Cool Mom anymore.

I did not take photos. Individual photos, group photos – I did not take any.

I did not weep that another summer is already showing signs of coming to a close.

I just drove off, never having gotten out of my car.

After I got home, I watched a couple hours of Perry Mason.

I did not text the camp coach to see if I could bring anything to make the last day special.

I did not join the kids for their last camp lunch of the year.

I turned leftover taco meat and a couple slices of American cheese into nachos and watched another episode of Perry Mason, spilling half the contents of my nachos on my shirt.

755fe2f55807d554d84cd87ded3cfa54Somewhere around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I came to.

I realized I only had two more hours until camp was over. I checked my cellphone. My daughter had texted me a photo of the pool noodle, cupcake, and treat bag the Cool Moms had given her.

I saw a huge tag hanging from the pool noodle: “last day of tennis camp gifts from Madison.” I remember putting a tag like that on some random Cool Mom bullshit in years past, myself; and I realized that Madison (six, bratty) could literally give zero shits about 95% of the kids there. Including mine.

I spent the last two hours of this year’s tennis camp taking a shower, putting on yoga pants and a tank top, and heading to the country club for pick up. The shower was extra long because I got sidetracked trying to see if I could make my voice sound the same as the Barbie singing in the shower of our new Barbie Dreamhouse.

I did not stop to get out of the car for the teary mom goodbye going on in the parking lot.

Again, no photos; in fact, my phone was dead.

And as I went to get out of the SUV to at least walk into the swimming pool area to collect and move on with our lives for another year, I realized I had no shoes on.

As in, I forgot to put on my shoes when I left the house.

So I honked the horn and within two minutes we were back on our way home.

The thing is: I have been the Cool Mom before.

I have baked the cookies and arranged the parties and rolled the fondant shapes to coincide with the theme; and I have schlepped the cupcakes and texted the teacher to see what I can do and come for the last day of lunch; I have hung up the streamers and made the tags on the sides of the pool noodles that say “last day gifts from…”

I have sat up late at night putting together treat bags for no occasion other than Friday.

It’s someone else’s turn now. I pass that torch, willingly.

I’m burned out. I’m tired. I’ve seen kids not appreciate what the Cool Mom does one too many times.

And given my inability to remember to even wear shoes when I leave the house, I’ve obviously got other things on my mind.

Or maybe it’s that I’ve entered a new era of parenthood. One that is less over-involved and more willing to let go.

One that does not spend all my time obsessing over my kids’ lives and activities and social functions, and finds a healthy balance between being there and being overbearing.

One that lets my “Me Time” (if there really is such a thing) actually be about me.

I’m OK with this, whatever it is. Of course a few weeks from now I’ll probably bake some crazy Pinterest-worthy cupcakes out of a sense of guilt that I opted for mediocrity, rather than stepping up to the plate at tennis camp this year.

But for now, I’m OK with just being Mom.

 

I Think I’m Becoming One Of Those Annoying Sports Parents

Seriously. I will not shut the fuck up about tennis (our chosen sport). That is the principal clue that I’m becoming one of those annoying sports parents.

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Tonight I was posting a photo to my Instagram page. After I checked in at the tennis courts on Facebook, of course. After the photo uploaded I looked at my most recent photos. Tennis. Homeschooling. Weekend. Food. Tennis. Tennis. Tennis. Dog. Dog. Tennis. Tennis. Tennis. Breakfast before tennis. Dog. Tennis. Husband’s birthday. Book I’m reading. Tennis. Tennis.

I’m so annoying. If I were one of my Instagram followers, I’d be saying out loud: “alright, we get it already …you guys are into tennis – gah!”

Or my Facebook friends. My poor, innocent Facebook friends that are probably all asking themselves daily if we really should be connected.

Because honestly. Who would want to call an annoying sports parent like me their “friend?” Not me, that’s for damn sure.

My posts have been rapidly derailing into nothing but updates about tennis. I’m like one of those new parents that won’t shut the fuck up about their baby belly, their pending birth, the dilation of their cervix, and the subsequent 16 million photos of their baby all making the same, typical baby faces.

Only about tennis. Tennis is my new baby.

There’s the basic update that no one really gives a shit about.

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Then there was that time I tried to express frustration, which people also didn’t (and shouldn’t) give a fuck about.

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Occasionally I try to fit in that we are out for tennis by talking about something else, as if that’s going to trick people into believing that I’m posting anything other than TENNIS TENNIS TENNIS OMG OMG TENNIS TENNIS!!!!

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The growing sense of arrogant entitlement.

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Posts that will one day be proof that I’ve become a truly annoying, and borderline intolerable, sports parent.

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And, the occasional moment of acceptance and defeat.

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I’m sure if we are Facebook friends, you unfollowed me a long time ago. I myself feel like punching myself in the crotch just reading over all of these.

The thing is that I’m not *really* the one doing the tennis playing. I mean I’m facilitating the practicing. Serving the balls, paying the bills, loading the ball machine, shouting the occasional annoying-sports-parent slogan (my favorite is: “let’s move it – tennis is a sport of movement, not lounging around!!!!”).

But I’m not the one taking the lessons or playing the games. I won’t be the one playing the tournaments, and I won’t be the one to either win them or lose them.

I’m just the mom who is obsessed. And annoying. And overly supportive. Did I mention annoying? To some, I may be lumped in with the sports parents that live vicariously through their kids. They never did anything worth a damn with their lives (which most of them will admit to), so they have kids and live vicariously through their kids’ achievements. But to get to those achievements, especially because a lot of times the kids don’t even want to do whatever it is the parents have them do; they have to push. And push. And push. And push their kids in ways that are entirely unreasonable to keep it going.

I’m not one of them. There are a lot of them out there, but – honestly – anytime anyone in my house says “this has gone too far,” or “enough is enough,” I’m perfectly prepared to retire the tennis gear forever.

There are more clues out there, though. That I’m not one of those trophy parents, but still among the annoying variety.

A while ago, I decided I would build tennis into our daily routine. Not just the practicing, but the living and breathing of it. I mean everyone in our house wanted to do it that way, so I figured – hell, why not? Why not add 30 minutes watching tennis channel to part of the breaks we take during the day of homeschooling? At least then three hours of sitting on our asses watching match after match don’t go by without realizing it. Why not add yoga for better balance in tennis to the morning routine of get up-wash-your-face-brush-your-teeth-eat-your-oatmeal nonsense?

And then there’s the whole bit about never shutting the fuck up about it.

Yesterday we went to my sister in law’s baby shower. It, in and of itself, was the most intolerable activity of my year; so I figured I would match that intolerableness by being intolerable myself. By networking my way around the room, between family and my mother in law’s friends; people I had never met before, and just innocent neighbors that had noticed a party going on and wandered in (no really…three people there were of that variety, and I envy them for such gusto). All the while, when people asked “what do you do?” or “how are things going,” the conversation turned to our preoccupation with sports. Tennis. Fucking tennis mom won’t shut the fuck about tennis.

I annoy even myself.

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But what I will say in my own defense, and the defense of all the other annoying, obsessive, irritatingly one-track-minded sports parents out there is this: sports provide a lot of fucking structure that kids need.

After we got more serious as a family about tennis as a big part of our every day lives, everything else seemed to fall more into place. School work got done more efficiently (so we could get out to the courts). And done right, the first time – more often. Bedtime is easier (everyone’s burned off all their energy). Vegetables and fruits are eaten with less complaints, because quite frankly even my husband is burning so many more calories now, anything will do at dinnertime.

So I get it. I get why the sports parents revolve their entire lives around soccer or hockey or basketball or tennis or whateverthefuck sport their kid(s) play.

It doesn’t make it any less annoying, though. Make me less annoying, I mean. At least I can admit it and try to do better.

But let’s all face it: tomorrow morning when we go to coaching, I’ll check in on Facebook and post my photos and talk on the phone about it. And be the most annoying bitch on the courts.

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