As one of those picked-last-for-kickball kids with no affinity for team sports, a longstanding aversion to gym teachers and a son who is a particularly avid baseball fan, I have the eerie feeling that Elana Sigall is describing me when she writes in the October issue of Parents:
I never liked sports growing up. My poor hand-eye coordination makes it a challenge to drive a car, let alone hit a ball with a bat. I don’t like watching sports on TV and I don’t even like sports metaphors. So I never imagined that I would have a kid who was so focused on baseball. It was alienating to watch my son drift farther away from me – toward anyone else he knew who could talk about plays and records and suicide squeezes. I was starting to feel a little desperate, reduced to begging for good-night kisses. I knew I had to find a path to baseball or I was going to lose out on a connection with Julian.
In the piece, Sigall (a writer-mom I now know socially after our sons bonded over their mutual baseball obsession) recounts how she found a way back into 6-year-old Julian’s world by baking him a baseball cake, learning about all his favorite players as she lovingly formed them out of fondant. Somewhere along the way, as she drew pinstripes on Yankees jerseys with a food-writer pen and carefully sculpted mitts and belts and shoes, she became a fan, invested in a game her son adored and able to speak with him about it.
It’s a wonderful story of hope for non-sporty moms of sporty sons. And it left me wondering how I might penetrate my own son’s sports sphere. I’m not much of a baker, but I’m a big Broadway fan. Maybe we can listen to “Damn Yankees” Original Broadway Cast recording together.
How about you? Has your kid had an obsession (sports or otherwise) that’s left you behind? How have you found your way back in? Or have you given up?