Dear Sports Parents, How Do You Do It?
I have sixteen, almost seventeen year-old twin nephews, Collins and Carter. They were born when I was in high school and my sister and the boys lived with us my junior and senior year. I couldn't love them anymore if they were my own children. It's safe to say that I was pretty much there for everything... midnight diaper changes, first steps, many hospital stays battling RSV, uncountable baseball, basketball, football games and their favorite, golf. I'm pretty sure that the boys were swinging plastic golf clubs from the time they could stand up, ha! And, they were good at golf from the beginning.
Today, their high school golf team played in the regional tournament, vying for a spot at state. Today, I was reminded how tough losing can be. And, today, I was introduced to the inevitable pain of being a twin.
Let me give you a brief understanding of Collins and Carter. They are both totally chill. I know, it's hard to believe anyone in my family is naturally calm. Just like twins do, they spend 99.9% of their time together. Sure, as they've gotten older, they've discovered different interests, but the majority of their life has been spent together. And, yes, they still share a bedroom, ha! If you have twins or know multiples, you know that is a bond unlike any other. It's just really cool.
Ok, back to today...
The teams were shooting (no pun intended) for the top two teams to advance to Bowling Green for the state tournament next week. It was obvious after the front 9 that one team had claimed the top spot. (Congrats to McCracken County, y'all were awesome today!) So, that left one more spot. And, it was between Mayfield (the boys and my school) and the host team, Marshall County. Naturally, it came down to the very last group to finish, because it wasn't dramatic enough, ha! It was when the first nephew was putting on 18 that I quickly remembered how brutal golf can be. I had to go stand by myself when they were putting, because I couldn't bear the thought of either messing up their final putt.
Well, we got third place... by one stroke. One dad-gum stroke kept their team from the state tournament. Turns out, that wasn't the worse that we were going to feel. Guess what else happens at regionals? Two players, outside of the advancing teams, get to advance into the individual competition at state. You know where I'm going with this, right?!? The boys coach turned around from the scoreboard and started walking over to our group. Both of the advancing individual players were from our team! But, one of our twins made the cut and one didn't. As silly as it sounds, my Mom, sister and I had a moment. (Don't worry, we didn't fall to the ground or anything, but we needed a few seconds to gather ourselves.) This is what the boys have been dreaming of. First, their team barely misses the cut, but now, one of our boys does, too. I'm not going to say tears didn't come down, it was like a punch in the gut. To be so excited for one twin and so sad for the other isn't a feeling I like. That feeling got me thinking...
How do you sports parents do this? How do you know what to say in a situation like that? How do you know when to not say anything at all? How do you watch your children and their friends give it everything they have and it still isn't good enough? Sure, that's life and it builds character. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, a missed state tournament opportunity isn't everything. But, at the same time, they're just kids and you know how much they're hurting. And, at that moment, thinking about one of our boys advancing, while the other doesn't, was beyond tough.
So, I told them both how proud I was and always will be. Tried to hug them (turns out, trying to hug a high school boy in front of his friends is tougher than giving a cat a bath, ha!) and told them that I loved them.
Oh, Collins will be just fine. And he'll be right there in Bowling Green on Tuesday cheering on Carter and his other teammate during the state tourney.
I'm glad I've got a few years left until I have to worry about competitive sports with Carsyn. It's obvious, after today, my emotions just aren't ready yet, ha!
So, to all you sports parents out there, hang in there. From watching everyone today, turns out, just being there for your kids is all they, and you need.