Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sports mom column....this is where it all began

If I had told my high school English teacher that I would be writing a “sports mom” column in *cough, cough* years, she would have probably choked on the laughter.  I wasn’t the sports type in high school!  For that matter, if any of my high school friends read this, they are probably still in total disbelief.  But, much to my surprise, I have become a sports mom.
I was sure during Joni’s first season of t-ball I was going to be spared of having to coordinate around sports seasons.  I mean, seriously?  Joni was much more interested in the bugs in the outfield grass than she was where the ball was being hit.  My dreams were shattered during her 5th grade year when she was introduced to basketball and fell madly in love. Jeana soon followed on the basketball court, as did Jake.  A year later, Jake did some major sweet-talking and talked me into letting him play flag football. Our lives, and schedules, have since been arranged around practices, games, team dinners, and crazy tournament schedules and the mandatory washing of uniforms or practice gear at 1 a.m.  Over the past 10 years, I have burnt out three crock-pots, two dishwashers and endured the smell of football pads like a trooper. 
I’ve always tried to not be one of “those moms”.  I’ve always tried to be positive and encouraging to all the kids on the team. I’ve pestered Larry or anyone sitting next to me with questions to learn more about the rules of the games my kids played.  My goal was to be loud and proud – not obnoxious and oblivious.
All those years on the sidelines and my love for cameras have given me an opportunity I’m pretty excited – taking sports pictures for the Chariton Valley News Press.  I know my pictures will never match Jessica’s, but I’m learning more with every game and having a blast in the process.  My biggest challenge has been keeping the “sports mom” in check and maintaining the professional demeanor on the sidelines Laura deserves from her employees.  Last week during the football game against Paris, I was challenged to the maximum.
There comes that point when shooting pictures that I realize the action is too far away for good images.  At that point, I usually lower the camera and enjoy the game.  Well, that works in theory anyway.
Last week when I reached that point, it involved a breakaway touchdown by my favorite player – my son.  Most of the time that wouldn’t be a problem – Salisbury’s chain gang knows me.  Unfortunately, the sports photographer I was sharing the sideline with didn’t know I was a “football mom”.  My outburst managed to make him jump about five yards and I’m pretty sure his heart was suffering from an irregular beat.  The look on his face was pretty priceless.  After the obligatory football mom touchdown celebration, I sheepishly apologized for the outburst.  I managed to add to the apology a brief “no. 44 is my son” statement which elicited an eye roll.  I do believe he mumbled something about not being able to tell and his ears ringing but I was back to cheering on the team so I’m not positive.
It came as no surprise to me that soon after the extra point attempt he decided the lighting was more favorable on the other side of the field.
I guess the most important lesson I learned at that game was that during the idle photographer sideline chitchat, it would be courteous to mention that I’m also a football mom.  Jessica has agreed with me that it might be a good idea for me to be back in the stands versus on the sidelines during the Westran game.  I mean, the team appreciates every “loud and proud” football mom, grandma, aunt, cousin, neighbor and casual acquaintance cheering them on during the games right?  That, and the fact that I don’t think pictures of the lights or grass will be useable for the paper anyway.  I’d probably be swinging that poor camera around like a samurai sword all night. 
After that game though, it will be back to the sidelines with camera in hand and my football mom personality brought back under control – at least until the next big touchdown run anyway.  

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