by Hope Elizabeth Dutton | February 15, 2022
Hey to all our PURA VIDA VOLLEYBALL moms and families!
It’s, ME (Hope) volleyball sport mom, teacher by day - blogger by night and I just took off my sport mom hat after a few tourney’s between Jax, Fort Lauderdale and this past weekend the Daytona 100 while Jenn, Mariah and CREW finished some tourney travel themselves.
Now, I've put on my blogger hat and first, we're going to talk about Pura Vida Volleyball’s tourney calendar. I’ve included the link, for you to take a look. If you see they are headed to a tournament you're headed to, drop by the booth to give them some volleyball love! 🏐🤍
Second, we are gonna get down with some REAL MOM TALK! It’s time for a little sport momservation about our kids, their sport and being their parent…
Plus, ALL you hard working sport moms, ESPECIALLY those in the ever growing Facebook Volleyball Mom group really got me to thinking...and so, I am going to write about it...
Do you remember what you did four years ago, that you happen to be doing AGAIN NOW?
Turns out, I DO!!!
I sat and I watched. Just like I have for countless hours over the years.
None of it has to do with me…yet I watch, suspended in time and emotion.
Somewhere in a place of motherhood, inner coach, cheerleader, and admirer. Staying relaxed, cool and calm on the outside, while internally my insides might be churning…
Can any of you relate to this feeling?
There is no room for ego in this, or at least there shouldn’t be and hopefully we all checked that at the door a long time ago.
If you are anything like me, you sit, stand, or sometimes pace.
This is what you DO…and this is what I have done numerous times, amongst a small pool of other parents doing much of the same.
I watched my oldest daughter at many college showcases, years ago and now I watch my second daughter as she joins in the big wide world of college showcases and recruiting!
These are the hours and days you try not to agonize over, yet you do, not for yourself but for your child.
Fast forward, my oldest signed, played and hung up her knee pads from a state college in Florida.
She went through the recruiting process and had offers ranging from all over. Recruiting and offers comes in all shapes and sizes, and I’ve learned, no two situations are the same.
She verbally committed to an out of state university that had won their conference multiple years running, with a nationally renown coach. This university offered all the bells and whistles of a great campus and student life. It had all the makings of a student athlete’s university and program experience every sport mom hopes to see for their developing child yet before signing on the dotted line, she decided she didn’t want to move out of state.
Turns out, while she ultimately picked a much smaller college and far less competitive volleyball program, it was a more fitting experience FOR HER, as she took her first fledgling steps from home.
Because that is it…at the end of the day, while it is a dream, it is also a dream balanced with a hearty dose of reality to match EACH player’s personality, skill level and desired GOAL!
Now my second is coming along and it turns out, it is her end goal to play at the college level too.
This is a goal they have poured so much in, somehow it became my goal too, in that I support their efforts 100%.
Between my own years playing sports, coaching high school cheerleading and my three children's sporting endeavors, I have been doing some level of this SPORT THING for over THIRTY collective years…and while I hugely identify with it, it isn’t my identity!
I know there is an end, at some point, however until that time comes, if they are hustling…I am hustling.
Whatever an athlete’s home life and background is, every student athlete has SOME PERSON that supports them in developing into the young man or woman that he or she has become. These people serve as anchors for the student athlete as they go off to college. They have also served as encouragement for the student ATHLETE to be the best versions of themselves that they can.
As parents, we have to ensure this isn’t some misguided, living through our children vicariously type of thing. Believe it or not, I still see it. EVERY 👏🏼 SINGLE 👏🏼 DAY 👏🏼 and I'm sure many of you have too?!
Personally, I never went in to this with any thought for my girls other than team sports are a great way for a kid to develop. Yet, it evolved and now that it is here – I find myself serving as my girls’ anchors and sails.
I encourage them to follow their dreams, and do the best they can to reach their GOALS!
My oldest WAS blessed enough to take her volleyball to the next level. She’s finished and wonderfully enough, she also supports her younger sister’s goals. She knows what it takes, only what started as a two year tenure at a state college flew by, and while she could have gone on and didn’t, here I am, doing it all over again…only this time I try to agonize less while continuing to TRUST this process more!
I also want my second daughter to realize I ONLY want this if she truly wants it. I want her to feel comfortable enough to know, she can stop at any time, and that while playing at the next level will always make any parent proud, it is not the end all and she will not disappoint me or our family one bit! Her playing (or not playing) doesn't define her!
To be honest, when I put my sport mom hat aside, I can’t help but wonder, what must it really feel like to constantly and knowingly put yourself in these high pressure moments where your every move is judged, critiqued, and compared to another young female student athlete?
To constantly allow yourself to be this emotionally and physically vulnerable to rejection at an age when most young females are hyper sensitive to criticisms or rejection?!
I wonder a LOT about the potential positive and negative impact all this can have on our children's psyche.
The seeds of self doubt could be ENDLESS!
This is powerful stuff going on in the brains of our young ladies, layered on top of their already developing mind, body and soul.
For these young ladies to love and have this much passion for a sport, (or anything) they willingly put themselves out there time and again.
Knowing that the odds are NOT in their favor.
Think about that for a moment!
You have to be made of pretty tough stuff – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and you have to have quite a bit of support backing you up to take those hits and shut that inner voice of self doubt down.
To keep feeling good about getting up, dusting yourself off in the face of possible defeat and saying, “Yes! I am ENOUGH and I’M READY to do it AGAIN!”
Our girls have to learn at an early age, to trust themselves as they push past their moments and like fellow sport mom and friend, Bao Tram Quach recently said to me, “I, as mom, need to put all my trust in HER. In HER ability to handle what comes next. HER ability to jump over the hurdles. Just as her teammates trust her on the court, I need to trust her off the court.”
Which leads to the very real statistic across the United States that only 5.8% of all female high school age volleyball players will go on to play at the next level and that includes ANY level.
That means 94.2% either chose to go a different route in life, weeded themselves out, or simply didn’t cut it.
AS PARENTS…let’s run that through our brains for a moment! That is a tough pill to help our daughter’s swallow.
However, while playing in college and scholarships are nice, believe it or not, that’s not the actual goal or at least that wasn't the end goal most of us parent's had in mind when we got our daughter's into the sport.
The REAL goal is to have GOOD humans of strong moral and ethical character, that eventually become confident, productive, happy and accomplished citizens contributing to society.
Humans who are able to lean on themselves and their own tough experiences, so it will support them through the rough patches that life will surely serve them, so they will trust themselves and that they can handle anything!
To truly know they have the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual strength to manage and guide their thoughts and behaviors in an effort to turn their dreams into reality or that they can juggle their very full plates in an effort to do whatever THEIR heart’s desire while being GOOD people in the process!
This is the thought that occurs to me nearly EVERY. SINGLE. DAY as I raise my girls in the sporting arena.
It is important for them to understand and accept that there will ALWAYS be someone smarter, faster, and more skilled and then someone who isn’t, in ALL of LIFE…and THIS IS OKAY!
Of course it’s also my job to teach them that they can’t sweat that…and to provide them with the emotional tools and self-confidence that allows them to understand they can admire one while lifting the other because ultimately, this is what they are training for.
They are training not just for the court, but for LIFE!
Who doesn't want to raise kind yet self sufficient women who can take care of themselves while still being team players? The kind of woman who knows how to go out there and leave it all on the court?
At the end of the day, they are learning how to set goals and follow through, because they’ve got this and if it isn’t this time, that’s okay, there can be a next time. To trust that everything happens for a reason, and to accept it with GRACE as they keep moving forward.
After all, I have learned to trust in faith and to trust them – for myself and for them – even though I cannot always see it from my vantage point, I have faith in the BIG PICTURE! So this is part of the teaching process too.
Now that I’ve been through the process with one, I’ve told them that where ever they end up, no matter what – it is up to them to take advantage of the opportunities they have earned and that life has provided!
Eventually, THEIR growth is THEIR responsibility! Because THAT court, THIS game, and THEIR skills are no different then what they are going to need to be successful in THEIR LIFE!
Until then, as long as they’re in it, I’m in it…because in this house, our family is a team and we are in it together.
We invite our online Pura Vida Volleyball community to offer comments, and help us build our online community and blog following!