Privilege, revisited. (Day 113, Year 2)

To all my friends who have children who play youth and school sports, I want you to take a moment and realized how privileged your children are to be able to play on fields, row down rivers, hit balls and make baskets on courts and swim in pools.

I forget this privilege, often. 

I entered this weekend of one soccer game, four lacrosse games, two races at one regatta and one flag football game without much gratitude. I was as ungrateful and irritated as one could be about the hours and miles and running and waiting and anxiety and chaos. 

But, then, my oldest daughter had such a look of joy and victory as she paddled back after her first varsity race in a boat with her friend and then my middle daughter waved at me with such joy and love from the sidelines of her lacrosse game and my son ran to tell me with joy and pride how his flag football team got their first win of the season today; and friends, I remembered. 

Sports are a privilege. 

I know I've written about sports and privilege, before. But, since I forgot, I thought I'd revisit what this means, so maybe I don't forget again. 

Sports are a privilege of wealth and prosperity (we could own a beach house and have annual European trips if we were not paying for sports, equipment and gas to get all over New Jersey). They are also a privilege of health and vitality. 

This last part we know so well; but still even we forget that our daughter nearly died at birth and again in toddlerhood and wasn't ever supposed to walk, let alone train and compete at the highest level in one of the hardest, most grueling sports on the planet. 

Too often I let the stress and overwhelm, which seems so real, but is really just a lie, crowd away the truth of the joy and privilege. It is a privilege to have anxiety about my daughter on a windy day rowing down a deep, wide lake. I know this because I also experienced the horror and anxiety of watching her get a lumbar puncture when she was 15 months old and had just endured 3 brain surgeries. 

I'd rather be worried her boat will flip or be disqualified. 

And for my other two kids, it is a privilege to watch them work hard and fail and succeed and repeat. The time they spend on the field and the sidelines is time that grows their character--building humility and humanity and sportsmanship and resilience.  It is a privilege to be the one they look for in the stands and the one they cannot wait to tell about the game and the drama and the girl who pretended to be a goat to intimidate them. 

I try to remind my children that their sports are a privilege (especially if they complain about a practice or a game or feeling overwhelmed or scared or nervous). But, the best reminder for them to see a mother who is filled with gratitude, even when the weekend includes 8 sporting events and hundreds of miles and nearly 20 hours of sports. Because all those events and those miles and those hours are not burdens or things to be overwhelmed by--those are things to be overjoyed by--just like my girl when crossed the finish line today.