Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sports Mom Meets Stage Mom


This summer's The Wizard of Oz marked the ninth time one of our kids has been a cast member of a local high school or community theatre performance. Being a stage mom is so much fun. It reminds me a lot of being a sports mom. In fact, there are more similarities than the two camps sometimes realize.

Sports Mom makes multiple trips to the store throughout the season to purchase the correct shoes, mouth/shin/eye guards, special undershirts, snazzy socks, and anything else the superstar needs to play safely and play well. Stage Mom also makes multiple trips to the store. Most of the costuming is up to the actors (and their parents) and we have searched high and low for comfortable, yet pointy, black boots; era-appropriate suspenders and dress slacks; a flapper dress that stays on through a fight scene; an authentic, size XS Charlie Brown T-shirt; and enough undergarments (for quick backstage costume changes) to supply the lingerie section of Target.

Sports Mom buys squeeze yogurts by the case, oranges by the dozen, juice boxes or Gatorade or water bottles as needed and stands ready to supply her player and all the others when it is her turn. Stage Mom bakes brownies, picks up the deli trays, buys mini bagels or Oreos or Cheez-Its by the case, and delivers it all backstage just in time for the rehearsal break on her appointed day.



Sports Mom clears the family schedule for scheduled practices, re-scheduled practices, regular season games and tournaments. Stage Mom clears it for rehearsals, re-scheduled rehearsals, and...you get the idea.

We have encouraged our kids to be involved in both athletics and the arts. We like the idea of them being well-rounded even as we face the probability of no one being an all-star in either field since sometimes one requires a temporary sacrifice of the other. One of the things we love about our school is that our students do not have to specialize in one particular sport or discipline. Arts or athletics, take your pick at any time. We have found over the years that both teach identical skills.

If you choose not to show up or give your best at practice (rehearsal), you are letting down your team (cast). When you have the ball (spotlight), it is all in your hands and you’ll be glad you practiced (rehearsed) over and over. There is a reason the coach (director) chose you for that position (role). It could be inherent skill, a work ethic second to none, or just dumb luck on your part. It doesn’t matter how you got there, but it certainly matters how you carry the ball (scene).

Sometimes rehearsals (practices) are inconvenient, seem pointless, or drive you to the point of exhaustion. Just do your job. Sometimes the decisions of the director (coach) puzzle, disappoint, or anger you. Just do what you’re told. Sometimes you feel ill, exhausted, irritated or misunderstood. Just show up when you are expected.

You want to be the star (starter)? Work harder, smile brighter, show up earlier and stay later than everyone else. Leave it all on the stage (field or court) and then see what happens. You might get put at the head of the lineup or the playbill. You might have that shining and glorious moment that you’ll recognize from every Disney Channel movie ever produced.

You might also remain part of the chorus (backup). But that’s where the greatest lessons are learned. And that, my dear athletes and actors, is why I keep buying shoes, brownies, fundraiser trinkets, and all the other stuff you need to carry on. Every moment we spend being part of something bigger than ourselves is a moment well spent. Bravo to all of you!

On another note, to all the little Bartees, it would be great if next Halloween you would choose to dress up as a football player, a soldier, a flapper, or a witch. Sports/Stage Mom has you covered!

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