As a parent of kids in athletics, you don’t notice all the
benefits and associated community until much later.
What I didn’t realize at the time
was what a privilege it was to be
part of this chaotic community.
My guess is there is a Mom Squad equivalent
in every sport, every season. We get your kids
t wice a week. We navigate their volatile emotions and moods and do our best to teach the
sport in question, but mostly we have fun.
Some of the kids ended up having much
better experiences than others. At the end of
the Mom Squad season, one promising athlete
sweetly said, “Mrs. Towle, if it’s OK, I don’t want
to be on your team next year.” It turned out that
her dad, who had been frowning from the sidelines during every game, had played the game
in college. Hey, Dad, we could have used your
help. I redeemed myself by also co-coaching the
twice-undefeated Tigers CYO volleyball team.
From the outside it might look ridiculous
that parents like me spent so much energy and
fossil fuel shuttling our kids across the county,
juggling games, lessons and tutoring, and it
probably is. My guess is the parents of Memo
Gidley, a professional race car driver and the
subject of this month’s Q&A, did not get caught
up in the mayhem of organized youth sports.
Gidley grew up literally on the bay: he lived in
the anchor-out community in Sausalito and
raced first sailboats and then go-karts. When
I met up with him at Blink Studio in Town
Center last month, his eyes lit up as he showed
the photographer and me his various trophies
earned for races through the years. And these
are the real ones, not the “you showed up; good
job, kid; here’s your trophy” type.
Cheers to all the coaches, parents,
grandparents, godparents and/or anyone who
shows up with a blanket or folding chair and,
of course, the mini-athletes in our county. If
you have little ones, I highly suggest signing
up with your local recreation center for whatever peewee sport offerings you can. There are
life lessons to be learned and some fun to be
had. See you on the fields.
Mimi Towle, Editor
SPRINGTIME IN MARIN. Trails are filling up, days are longer and the ballfields come alive with the cacophony of little voices from kids involved in sports.
As I read this month’s feature “A League of
Our Own,” I took my own sweet journey down
memory lane. The time my 7-year-old daughter Grace swung and swatted for what seemed
like hours at the air after the T-ball stand was
finally replaced with a pitcher. Or the day my
other daughter, Natalie, earned her nickname
“the boot,” when out of nowhere she lobbed
a soccer ball over the opponent’s head to the
goal. Or the instant when each finally nailed
that coveted overhead serve in CYO volleyball.
These were all emotionally packed moments
that, one by one, formed pieces quilted into
the tapestry of their character.
What I didn’t realize at the time was what a
privilege it was to be part of this chaotic community. “Which field? “What gym?” “What
color jersey?” “ Who brought snacks?” The
weekend frenzy all focused around the big
game. On the field or courts we gained insight
into our kids’ and our own psyches (I’m talking to you, sideline screamers). Here is where
I would like to thank all the great coaches
around the county and acknowledge that as
for the not-so-great coaches, such as myself,
we were answering the call of duty with the
best of intentions. And in regard to your
“ What were you thinking?”, sideline screamer.
the answer is, obviously I wasn’t.
How do we bad-apple coaches get brought
into the system in the first place? It starts with
an email that says something like, “Due to a
lack of coaches your daughter cannot play soccer this season.” Panic. Flurry of emails and
voilà, the Mom Squad to the rescue. The stars
of this coaching show were Leigh Baktiari,
the only one with actual soccer skills, Lisa
Bacino, competitive by nature and then Julie
Munro and myself, both long on enthusiasm.