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 Rena Stover, a mother from California with two sons playing Division 1 basketball, who blogs on college recruiting issues for Student Athlete LabTM.
MomsTEAM: Were you an athlete and what sports did you play as a youth (under 19)?
Stover: I was an athlete as a child. I played AYSO from 12-15, I ran track and played basketball in high school. I was a high jumper and triple jumper. I was ranked #2 in the country in 1982 in the girl's triple jump. I then went to Pasadena City College and on to CSUN participating in track.
MomsTEAM: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a sports mom?
Stover: The most rewarding aspect is watching my kids participate and being part of a team. That the boys, Anthony and Nicholas, have been able to play at a high level beyond youth/high school sports is a blessing.
MomsTEAM: What lesson has your sports active child taught you?
Stover: My sports active kids taught me how to have fun and enjoy the moment. Their ability to participate in the sport they love with single mindedness at game time is amazing.
MomsTEAM: What is the most important lesson your child is learning from his/her sport?
Stover: My kids learned how to manage their time. Playing high school ball on a level where they were competing for state championships is tough to manage. The season is long, running from late November through the end of March, if you make it to state. Takes a lot of discipline to keep the grades up and compete at a high level.
MomsTEAM: If you could "flip a switch" and change one thing about the culture of youth sports what would it be?
Stover: We need to see more of an emphasis on skill development and not so much energy on kids playing in tournaments. During tournament season, there is no time to learn the game and work on mistakes. So those bad habits continue to carry into games.
MomsTEAM: Here's a chance to brag a little: what have you done to make sports better for kids?
Stover: With our organization, we stress education first. If a kid misses a practice or game because of school work, it's doesn't affect playing time next game. We also work to educate parents about the NCAA clearinghouse, the sliding scale and freshmen eligibility requirements. It's very confusing if you aren't aware and prepared. It's easy to be caught off guard and have a kid be a non-qualifier, for many reasons.
Rena Stover is a California mother of three and writes the bballmom recruting blog on Student Athlete LabTM, a program run by her husband Craig which gives student-athletes the tools and resources they need to become more complete student-athletes on and off the court. Her son Anthony is a redshirt sophomore on the UCLA Bruins basketball team, while son Nicholas will be attending Loyola Marymount in fall 2012 on a basketball scholarship. You can follow Rena on Twitter @bballmom and email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.