Now that my daughters are teenagers, and involved in multiple sports, I realize that the unspoken challenge for parents of athletes is to master the art of waiting. Waiting for practice to end so that you can bring your child and perhaps other teammates home, and during out of town weekend tournaments, waiting hours between assigned games.
I’ve become an expert. Depending on activity time, the day of the year and location, I have developed routines to keep me busy until they’re done.
These personas only work if there are a few things handy to pass the time. I never leave home without an iPhone, headphones and a charger to keep them powered. How my parents waited for the end of practice without this equipment is beyond me.
Here they are:
- The workout champ. And by workout, I mean walker. This is the guy who is ambitious and wants to get some steps in while the kids are in the gym. I usually do this outside unless there’s a track, and only if it’s warm. Hey, I have standards. I’ve been around parents, though, that will get lost in strange schools making sure they walk. They’re the true champs.
- Movie star. This one is my go to. I have a lot of movies on a lot of different devices. I’ve learned to hook up to my car stereo, too. It feels like I’m at a movie studio. In the event that I’m in a gym waiting for a practice to end when there are a million volleyballs flying around, I have invested in noise cancelling earphones. Best investment ever until someone taps me on the shoulder. That’s when I become …
- The grapevine guru. Sometimes I’m not in the car, or have the window rolled down next to another parent or two. Get a group of parents together and it’s easy to catch up on team gossip, learn a few things about the upcoming game or talk about the old days.
- Rip Van Winkle. Yes, sometimes I’m there so long I sleep in the car. So what? As long as I don’t show up in an unfamiliar vehicle, my kids will open the door and wake me up. Who doesn’t like a quick snooze in those warm summer months?
- Last, but certainly not least, is the reader. I have a Kindle Fire with plays, movies and also a lot of downloaded books. This one takes some getting used to, especially if I’m not in the car because it gets noisy. But if the book is good enough, I’ve passed hours waiting and reading.
Of course, there are several other things to do while waiting, depending on the time. I’ve talked on the phone, written a column or two, ate way too much junk food, caught up on everyone else’s life on social media and more.
Now I honestly don’t mind waiting. My kids are active and having the time of their life, and that’s very important to me.
Watching them do something they have a passion for, and being part of that is awesome, even when that last tournament game ends at 10 p.m. and I’m faced with a five-hour drive home. It’s always time well spent.
Tim Kissman is the publisher and owner of Healthy & Fit Magazine.