Especially When They Don’t

We’re nearing the finish line. A marathon summer of insanity. I know you’re thinking it. I’ve even thought it. Why in the world do you do that? Why does your family get so involved in travel sports? Defensively I might respond that it’s not just us. Actually, there is a major trend in the United States and it’s alarming…and our family is a statistical number in that trend. I like to think it’s more than that. We’ve never done things because others did. Quite the opposite really.

So why do we do it?

Why would we log over 5,000 miles since April between us traveling to sports for three kids?

Why would we juggle hotel points, find the cheapest rates and sometimes fit 3 in a queen bed on the road?

Why did we go to the grocery store in each town and stock up on food for meals, get rolls of quarters at the bank for laundry on the road and cash for parking, entry and fees?

Why ignore the advice of our College Financial Planner, some friends and even a Pastor?

Why trade a relaxing week at the beach for the expenses incurred on multiple road trips?

Why steal 30 minute walks with your bride during the week to get caught up and plan out the next weekends schedule?

Why burden neighbors and family members with feeding and letting out the dog? (Thanks Tom! Sorry Wubzzy)

I can’t speak for everyone. I can only speak for us. Here’s what I would say.

I once read a quote by Rick Reilly long before any of this travel stuff. It stuck with me. I was a young dad at the time and didn’t really understand it but I do now.

We’re here to be there when our kid has three
goals and an assist. And especially when he doesn’t.
-Rick Reilly

We do it for the friends they make in the dugouts, in the bullpens and on the teams.

We do it for the friends we make on the fence lines and in the bleachers. We can’t be in a small group at church but I would argue we’re in one every weekend.

We do it for weekends like this one when social media is filled with parents who are doing it for the last time and knowing we are just a blink away from making those posts too.

We don’t do this to puff our chests or promote our kids. Any pride you may hear or read isn’t to make anyone feel bad. It’s simply a joy in their adventures, memories and moments.

We do it for Sunday nights around the island in the kitchen when we’re all back together again sharing stories of our latest trips.

We do it for the hours of “windshield time”  discussions or complete silence.

We don’t do it to chase scholarships or pro careers. We do it to build character, camaraderie and work ethic. Those things last longer.

“Understand when you’re playing sports it’s a blessing because you’re in a controlled setting. It allows you to build character.” –

We do this to be there when our pitcher son can’t find the plate or throw a strike in the pitching debut with his new team. We also travel all of those miles for the day when he throws a complete game gem and the umpire shakes his hand afterwards and says “it was a pleasure to call your game.”

We do this for the moment, with tears in our eyes, that our freshman daughter, qualifies for the Regional track meet in 100 meter hurdles. We also do it for the day she misses the cut for the State track meet by hundredths of a second.

We do it so we can put our arm around her, wipe the tears, tell her it’s okay to mourn this moment but when she’s ready, to put that number on her mirror as a goal for next season.

We do this to watch our swimmer compete, over and over again and cut her times. We do it for the weekends when she just “doesn’t have it” and wants to give up.

Back in April as we laid all of the potential travel schedules (baseball, swimming, diving and track) out on the calendar I told my bride “We’re gonna blink and it will be August.”

Today is July 22nd.

We blinked.

We were there when they won and especially when they didn’t.

2 Replies to “Especially When They Don’t”

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