From the editor's desk: The joke's on me

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 6/12/24

Nothing says summer like the crack of ball on a bat under the blazing sun, amidst the cheers and chants of players and onlookers. Ah, summer softball (or baseball) is in full swing (pun intended).

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From the editor's desk: The joke's on me


Nothing says summer like the crack of ball on a bat under the blazing sun, amidst the cheers and chants of players and onlookers. Ah, summer softball (or baseball) is in full swing (pun intended).

I grew up swearing up and down to anyone who would listen that I would NEVER be a “soccer mom” or drive an ugly minivan or haul kids around like a taxi service. No sirree, that was not going to be me. I bet God is laughing at me right now.

I still refuse to drive a minivan, but a third-row seat SUV isn’t much different. I just tell myself it is, though. And if you ever need to ride in my vehicle, please forgive me. Since it’s basically my second home (the kids’ too), it looks like a bomb went off inside. I try to keep it clean, but somehow it gets taken over by water bottles, clothes, 4-H supplies, newspapers, softball/baseball equipment and crumbs. And if you advise me to “just don’t let them eat in the car,” then you’ve never driven home after a game/tournament with a “hangry” teen. They’re a whole new beast altogether.

This weekend we had three kids with tournaments, so we had to split duties between my husband, the boys’ other parents and me. Carolina and I went off to Watertown, Minn., which is a quaint little town along the Crow River west of Minneapolis. As I sat under the blazing June sun all day Saturday keeping score for the team, my skin slowly grew pinker and pinker. Somehow every year I forget how painful sunburns are and let myself roast like a weenie on a stick. By the end of the day, I was cooked. At least it will fade into a decent tan so I don’t look so ghostly.

The first game the girls were creamed by a team that operated like little mercenary soldiers in orange uniforms. As our girls’ spirits sunk lower and lower, it was tough to watch the disappointment on their faces. It’s hard to see kids you care about be disappointed. But they rallied and kept their heads up. My husband, who coaches varsity football at another school, always preaches to me, “Adversity builds character.” I know that is true. I was proud of how Carolina kept an upbeat attitude. And they ended up winning their second game of the day!

The big question when you’re on the road for youth sports is “Mom, what’s for dinner?” We usually try to pack a cooler of sandwiches, fruit and snacks to try to defray the costs of constantly being on the road. Between gas, food and hotel stays, the costs add up for traveling sports.

During a break, we ventured into town to see what Watertown had to offer. Shane and Lincoln joined us after Lincoln’s tournament ended in Bloomington, so it was nice to have company. While Carolina was at practice, we went to a gas station to get some caffeine. At this point on Sunday, I was dragging. Even though I wasn’t the one playing, I was exhausted. I had chugged two giant coffees that morning, but the effects wore off too quickly. As we drove down the street, I looked to my right and saw two older people on motorized scooters who appeared to be racing in the parking lot of a nursing home. You don’t get to see that every day. I wonder who won?

Last night as I sat beside the field in my camping chair, sunburnt and all with the wind gusts blowing dust into my eyes, with a softball cap on my head and the scorebook in my hands, I had to laugh internally. Never in a million years was I going to let myself become a “soccer mom,” sassy 20-year-old Sarah had said. That may be true, but somehow, I have become a softball, baseball, 4-H, football, basketball, cross country, tracks, piano and theater mom. And it’s really not so bad. I guess God had different plans for me than I expected.

From the editor's desk, Sarah Nigbor, kids, sports, softball mom, column