My ex and I “mutually” agreed to put our son in a youth basketball league that happens to be two and a half hours from where I live. I vaguely remember the call where we discussed this. I was at work, didn’t feel like arguing, and it was August and January seemed too far away to worry about it. I guess I said “okay” because for the last month I’ve found myself sitting in a gym in a teeny tiny Nebraska town watching my son battle it out on the court.
As though the drive wasn’t long enough, I also have the pleasure of weekly reliving some of my least favorite experiences from our nine years of marriage. My ex coaching. And in case you are new to my story or don’t have a sense of sarcasm via the written word. Let me be clear, I hated it.
I tried to like it. Especially in the early years. I got into it. Yelled like I gave a hoot who won. I even got to know the parents of the then high school girls he was coaching. But who was I kidding. I hated every minute of it. It brought out the worst in me (arguably the worst in him), and the worst in our relationship.
And yet here I am. Like some kind of karmic slap. Watching my ex coach his son. My only child. And because it’s my only child who is playing I hate it slightly less. His coaching. Slightly less. I love watching my kiddo play.
I only had to send him a text once telling him to back off of his own kid. And he actually took the feedback. So slightly less.
I have to admit, I do love how much my son loves basketball. On his own terms. I do believe he likes it because his dad does, but his love for the game is his own. For that reason I sit here for two hours, after more than two hours on the road, contemplating the permanency of bleacher butt.
I’ve changed in ten years too. Instead of caring too much about the game, I care about my kid’s experience. Instead of letting the coach’s style get to me, I listen to someone’s sweet nana swear under her breath when her eight-year-old grandson misses a shot. Instead of shouting at the referee, I consider how an “Orangeman” is considered a mascot. What is an orange-man? Why is this orange with arms and legs a man? What’s the female equivalent? Why not gender neutral? Why is the other team’s mascot of a Tiger wearing a 1980’s track suit? Truly the important parts of the game.
See I’ve changed. And these are possibly the worst bleachers in the entire state. Yes, I will have permanent bleacher butt.