I don’t think I ever faked a sports injury during the first 5 minutes of practice. I waited to pretend I was hurt until at least half way through practice.
It seemed more believable if I pretended to hit my knee on a hurdle once I was more sweaty. And then I’d fall to the ground in the most dramatic fashion, and sit with ice on my fake knee injury until my dad arrived to take me home.
So you can imagine my horror when Lars began limping during warm-ups at the first pee-wee football practice of his life.
I was mortified as he hobbled over to take a drink from the water bottle I’d brought him.
Lars, what the hell are you doing out there?
What, Mom? I’m just getting a drink.
Why are you limping?
Some kid stepped on my ankle with his cleats.
No! No one stepped on you! I’ve been watching. Now get out there! You’re making me look bad in front of the other parents! And the other boys are going to make fun of you!
Mom, I’m serious. I’m hurt.
No, you’re not hurt. You’re faking it. Suck it up, or we’re going home.
He began to walk away without his fake limp.
Lars! Come back here! I need to tie your shoe!
Okay, so maybe tying his shoe wouldn’t make him look much tougher in front of his friends or the other parents. However, he still allowed me to do it because the kid is nine-years-old, AND HE STILL CANNOT TIE HIS OWN SHOES.
Yes, you read that correctly. My nine-year-old cannot tie his own shoes properly. He twists his shoestrings into knots. I’ve been trying to teach him the loop, swoop, and pull, but he’s just not catching it. Each day before school we have the same conversation.
Lars, you really need to tie your shoes the right way. Tying your shoestrings in knots is not the right way. You’re making me look bad in front of the other parents. And the other kids are going to make fun of you.
It’s your fault, Mom. You made me wear Velcro shoes when the rest of the kids were learning to tie.
I have to get to work, Lars. Just give me your foot.
Anyway, back to pee-wee football practice.
Lars was back out on the field, and trying his hardest now. But even at his best, I could tell it wasn’t going to be good enough.
I decided to go home and make Shaun come back to the practice so he would understand that football wasn’t going to be his “thing”.
Shaun, you need to get up to the practice field.
SHAUN! He is making an ass out of us! He needs help at home, and you’re going to help him! These other kids look like their dads have been making them bear crawl for years!
No. It’s just conditioning today. He’ll be fine. We throw the ball around. My mom and dad never sat around and watched my football practices. You drop him off, and I’ll pick him up at 7:30.
SHAUN! All the other parents stayed up there. I ran home to make you go up there because this is a sporting emergency! Our kid sucks at this!
I’ll go get him at 7:30.
YOU’RE THE WORST PARENT EVER!
And with that, I stormed out of the house and went back to Lars’ practice.
I sat and watched like the rest of the moms. I could tell he was trying really, really hard. But he still wasn’t very good at things like running and jumping jacks.
After practice, I asked him if he really wanted to play football.
I HAD SO MUCH FUN, MOM! And Coach said I have the best three-point-stance out there!
So… I guess we’re playing pee-wee football. Which is fine because he’s having fun. My dad will be happy since I come from a long line of football players. But I’m 99.9% certain that Lars won’t become one of them.
I’ll bet Mark Zuckerberg faked an ankle injury or two in his life, so I’m not really too worried since the kid is so smart.
But it does leave me with some questions. Why do parents wait at practices now? Shaun was right about that, my parents just dropped me off as well. Is this because we’ve all become so judgy as parents and we want to out-parent all the other parents? And if your child sucks at sports, do you still encourage them to play, even if you know it will eventually end in heart-ache?