Being the mother of an athlete is a challenging yet rewarding role. So momsTEAM has designated May as Sports Moms Month and is celebrating by asking some of our favorite sports moms to share their wisdom by responding to a series of questions.
So far this month we have heard from a fascinating range of sports moms, from a mom of an Olympic athlete to moms who were themselves Olympic athletes, from a mom of two former minor league baseball players to a Minnesota hockey mom and author.
Today, we hear from sports mom and writer, Marla Miller:
momsTEAM: If you could "flip a switch" and change one thing about the culture of youth sports what would it be?
Miller: If there was a youth sports "P.T.A." and I happened to be president, here's what I'd do: ferret out all parents who never played out their own athletic dreams and make them play one season in the sport of their choice.
Okay, you may think this sounds crazy, perhaps, but if parents had to do this before their child played a sport in any serious and focused way, what these parents might learn is just how tough it is to perform on a field/court filled with teammates and opponents; some rooting for you, some hoping to take you out.
If parents had to not only drive to practices and games but also suit up and play in front of coaches and spectators, it might impact how they conduct themselves on the sidelines where 'that' group - you know who I'm talking about - now stand screaming at players. Parents forced to play a season might develop empathy for players on the field, especially the pint-size players also known as their children.
My only beef about youth sports has always been directed at negative parents who can be downright hostile and often to their own children. Vicarious living through your children is not a syndrome that infects sports parents only. We often read stories about parents of child actors who do more harm than good. Unfortunately, these kind of parents live in the youth sports world, too. I have always found them tough to understand. I bet their kids do, too.
momsTEAM: What have you done to make sports better for kids? Please share.
Miller: From my first daughter's birth, I knew it was important to give her and her two younger sisters what I did not have growing up: a sense of team. No better way to learn that then by playing on one so from Pee-Wee soccer on, my girls played organized sports. Two of my three played soccer well enough to earn athletic scholarships to college where they played D-1 ball and received a great education, much like boy athletes have been doing since organized sports began.
I come from a long line of athletes and while it skipped me, the tradition continues through my daughters. I'm quite pleased about this. Back when my girls were playing youth soccer, I saw the opportunity to use the skill set I did have, writing, and pitched a book idea to the iconic U. S. Women's National Soccer Team. They liked it enough to green light the project. In 1998, I spent several weeks with Mia Hamm and the team collecting data that turned into All American Girls: The U.S. Women's National Team. Published by Simon & Schuster in 1999, it remains the only authorized biography of this gold medal winning team of women who showed the world that the game of soccer is a girls game, too.
I am focused on soccer once again, only this time the book I'm writing is a 'team' project. My middle daughter, who's won many accolades during her time on the field, will co-author a memoir about two nationally known youth soccer coaches; twin brothers who came to America in 1984 when they were just eleven years old. Their tough transition was greatly aided by playing the sport that speaks all languages: soccer.
My daughter was a member of the first team these two brothers formed when they launched their Southern California club in the mid-1990s. Co-authoring a book about these two coaches who significantly shaped her young life will add a richness to this remarkable story about immigrants coming to America where dreams still come true for those willing to work hard.
Marla Miller was a RN for years before shifting her career to writing. In addition to her own writing projects, Miller teaches writing/marketing strategies to writers. Her Marketing the Muse Quick Query Critique video mini-workshops, offered free on her website, and The Writer Magazine receive high marks from authors on the road to publication. Marla wrote for the Orange County Register's lifestyle magazine for 16 years before becoming founding editor-in-chief of a quarterly Southern California coastal magazine. Her latest book, The Booty Bible, was written with fitness model/celebrity, Alicia Marie. Miller's Ageless Fitness column, featured at www.fitPOP.com, covers fitness/wellness in today's culture. Anotherof her newly launched websites delivers webinars that help writers get published through traditional and indie publishing/e-publishing. Marla's video blog, Me Quiet? You're Kidding, Right? @ www.WomenOver45SPEAK.com is her 'political statement' about women aging and invites women over 45 to promote work and/or passions for free.
You can connect with Marla via social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, womenover45SPEAK@gmail.com and/or email@example.com
For more blogs in momsTEAM's May is Sports Moms Month series, click here.