Thursday, March 22, 2012


"Mom, it's okay if I'm an alternate." Pause. "What's an alternate?"

Thus begins my first stage/sports mom experience. Last year, a small team enabled my elder son the experience of Penn Relays; this year, a larger team relegates him to 'alternate.'

Don't get me wrong; as a coach, having alternates is a good problem to have. The downside: all the senior boys got to run last year. This year, there will be disappointment.

"We're doing this on times," I told the kids at the end of practice yesterday. "Fastest kids go. I'll be posting everyone's times every week."

We had a fifth junior boy join yesterday, which pretty much guarantees that Nic is not going to run. The force of this disappointment surprises and vexes me.

"But mom," said Nic, "You still have to coach, so we still have to go."

It occurs to me that the other alternates may not feel this way, and that Nic, who can either run up or run down this year only, is peculiarly situated to be an all-around backup, if need be.

And he is absolutely okay with this. Isn't that the very essence of teamwork?

And isn't it awesome that Nic gets that?

As much as I model for him, he models right back to me.

And I am okay with that.

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