If you’ve ever been a sports parent, then you’ve definitely come across “that mom.”
She’s the one who might give her own kid just a little too much credit for their team’s success.
She’s also the one that might make her kid blush while cheering from the sideline just a little too loudly.
She could possibly be the mom who may go slightly over the top from time to time when it comes to a referee or an umpire.
We’ve all seen them, and for the most part, we know they might be just a little crazy.
We just don’t want to be the ones standing too close by when it’s time to find out just how crazy she can get.
Yep. I’m talking about “that mom.”
I’ve witnessed it firsthand. I’ve even gone so far as to tell “that mom” she might want take it down a notch or two just to make sure she doesn’t cross the proverbial line.
That happened at a soccer game a few years ago.
It was a day when another kid had obviously fouled her daughter and she was keeping her sanity somewhat quietly pointing out the blown call.
Her soccer-playing daughter was on the ground (she tends to be a drama queen) and no whistle was blown.
It was at that point that I nudged my way in her direction to let her know the referee may have missed the call, but it might have had more to do with her being a 16-year-old teenager making some extra money on the side rather than her deep-seated hatred for any player on the field.
I’m pretty certain she didn’t agree with me, although she found a way to turn it down a few notches for the rest of the morning. She never did totally lose it on the soccer field.
She made it through the rest of the game before heading across the field to give her daughter a postgame hug while keeping her thoughts to herself about the obviously biased refs.
“That mom” planned the trip to IHOP to celebrate her daughter’s win. Or maybe it was to mourn a loss.
Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea which one it was. And looking back on it, I couldn’t care less.
Wins and losses seem to be a little more important in the present than they do in our memories.
And by the time they made it to IHOP, the pancakes were the main thing on the kids’ minds.
I just happened to tag along for that morning’s breakfast.
That daughter and her sister broke down the cheating refs while chowing down on all the pancakes they could possibly devour.
“That mom” that was ready to go ballistic on the refs an hour earlier listened to stories ranging from UIL storytelling, the Astros or breaking down what happened to be in the snack bag.
“That mom” still knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that her baby had been cheated by the referee but was going to keep it inside for a few minutes.
As it turns out, “that mom” was running out of Saturday morning soccer games with her daughters.
She had no clue.
Not long after that Saturday morning, “that mom” gave me a call while I was at work.
She had just found out she had leukemia.
Her first fear wasn’t about any type of chemotherapy or the recovery that would come along with it.
She was afraid she wouldn’t be there for many more Saturday soccer games.
Or her daughters’ graduations. Or their weddings.
I reassured her that she was wrong. She wasn’t going anywhere.
As it turns out, this time I was the one who was wrong.
Over the next few months, many of those soccer stories had to be told in the hospital, and she certainly heard plenty of them.
She heard about the other kid who deserved the trash talking or the ref that somehow cost them another game.
She heard the stories about how the Astros were going to win the World Series or how unbelievably they had also been cheated out of a game.
“That mom” fought as hard as she could to make it back out to the soccer field.
Unfortunately “that mom” died in a Houston hospital a little over a year later.
While we had separated a few years earlier, “that mom” was Cher-ron, the mother of Spring and Sierra, our two daughters.
They still tell her those stories on a few late nights, even though she’s not there in person to hear them.
And when soccer season starts in a couple of months and my wife and I are back there cheering from the sideline, we still know those girls would give anything to have “that mom” on the sideline cheering them on, griping at an unsuspecting ref or even giving a few embarrassing comments.
On Monday, it will be three years since “that mom” ultimately lost her battle with leukemia.
She won’t be there in person for their Saturday soccer games, or their graduations or their weddings.
But I’m pretty sure she’ll be there in spirit each step along the way.
So when you head off to another Saturday at the soccer field or the ballpark, just be warned that there will be another “that mom” standing on the sideline letting the world know how their baby girl has been cheated too.
Maybe every now and then it’s OK to give “that mom” a break.
We never know exactly how many of those Saturday mornings “that mom” has left.