“With ski season mostly over, are you now the Brave Lacrosse Mom?” a friend asked me last weekend. We were sitting at the lacrosse field, in falling snow and howling wind, watching a group of 8th graders beat each other with sticks.
“I hadn’t thought about it yet,” I answered through chattering teeth. And with that she set me to thinking.
No, I am not about to give up being the Brave Ski Mom in favor of the Brave Lacrosse Mom, but I am sure you won’t be surprised that I do have a few reflections and comments on spectating at my first ever lacrosse tournament.
1. I Love Sports That Are “New.” Obviously lacrosse isn’t new. It was played by Native Americans long before the Mayflower ever docked at Plymouth Harbor. But it is relatively new to Western Colorado. Our local league started about 5 years ago and I know only a handful of parents who have played lacrosse.
And this is what I love: Total parental confusion on the sidelines. Why do I love this? Because confused parents are happy parents. Confused parents laugh at their own ignorance when the referee makes a call, rather than yell at the ref. If the parents don’t know the game, they are less intense about the game. I love that! The game becomes all about the kids playing and not about parental memories, ego or judgment.
At the first game of the season, my husband started to (loudly) comment (that would be a yell). He checked himself, laughed and said, “I’d better keep my mouth shut. I don’t know anything about this game.” Excellent!
2. Boys Love Sticks. Even more, boys love beating one another (and other things) with sticks. Now, this shouldn’t surprise me. When our younger son was a toddler he collected sticks everywhere we went. Walk along the river, pick up sticks and through them in the stroller. The stroller was not for him to ride in, it was a conveyance device for his sticks. Go for a hike in the forest? Carry sticks home in the backpack. For two years, he brought sticks home and put them into an ever-growing pile alongside our house. These sticks were used for fighting, pounding on the ground, building structures and finally, a big fire (Parentally-sanctioned, of course. I may let my boys fight with sticks, but I draw the line at unsupervised burning).
Fast forward a few years and our boys are playing hockey — with sticks. Hitting the puck, banging the ice, and fighting for position. They loved it.
But even hockey didn’t prepare me for the joy of playing with a lacrosse stick. Throwing, catching, hitting, checking and cheering all are done with sticks. And yes, just plain old beating with a stick.
I’d send both boys to their rooms for hitting one another with sticks when they were little. Now I cheer on the sideline for more stick beatings. What can I say….”Mom Mom” and “Fan Mom” must be different people. And that leads me to my third and final reflection…
3. Lacrosse Is Not For the Faint of Heart. Even more so than hockey, lacrosse appears to the uninitiated (me) as a sport of sanctioned violence. The first plays I saw left me with my mouth agape and the rational part of my brain aghast. I quickly got over that and just started laughing. What else can a mom do? Then after laughing, I just got in the spirit of the game. Funny how that happens.
My mom wasn’t at the first game we saw. When it started, I looked at my dad and said, “Mom is going to hate this sport.” My mom is a grandmother who loves her grandsons and can’t bear to see them hurt. Checking into the boards in hockey bothered her. I figured lacrosse might be unbearable. Wrong. She enjoys it.
Proving that when watching lacrosse something switches in our brains. Watching the speed of the players running, their skill in passing and catching, and the gusto which they bring to checking, we forget to be moms, we turn off the protective instinct, and are never faint of heart.
Is this a primal reaction to this ancient game? A game that purportedly was used for celebration, preparation for war and religion? Nah, we just like to see our boys be boys…And hit each other with sticks. We are Brave Lacrosse Moms.
In the Interest of Gender Fairness….
I don’t want to slight all those fabulous young female lacrosse players out there. Not having a daughter, I haven’t watched a girls’ lacrosse game. But I have seen them practice. Those girls get out there and play just as hard as the boys, but without helmets and pads. I know the rules are different, but really, these girls are tough.
© 2011, braveskimom. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.