I am a Sports Parent Therefore I Travel

My son Skyler is playing basketball for the #3 high school team in the country, (Whitney Young Blue Dolphins), alongside the #1 high school basketball recruit in the country, (Jahlil Okafor). That means that he has a lot of very serious work to do this season. And guess what, so do I. I am on his team. I may not bring anything to the court, but it’s important that I bring plenty to the table, and the car, and the fitness center and… well, you get what I mean. My son has elite athletic, three letter dreams dancing in his head. As a sports parent, as his sports parent, it is my job to do everything within my power to set the stage for him to perform all of the magic he can muster. I can’t make his dreams come true for him, but I can help him be as ready as possible to take the leap for the brass ring all on his own. I feed him, keep him hydrated, clean his uniform, remind him to to finish his homework before relaxing, soothe wounds, yank the ipad from his giant hands and force him to go to sleep, and I help him navigate the fast developing world of social media exposure that his level of play is opening him up to. His coaches are in charge of all that takes place in the gym, I’m responsible for everything else. That’s how it should be because the most important word in sports parent is PARENT. You are the only one who is 100% there for your child. No one else will have his back like you will.

Since Whitney Young has tournaments in 8 states over 57 days “being there” for my son means being WHERE he is. The WYHS basketball season is kicking off right here, in our sweet home Chicago, with the  Chicago Elite Classic. December 7, 2013 at UIC. It will be a marathon event with 14 teams from across the country, playing 7 games in just one day. I will be there from beginning to end.

There won’t be much time for recovery or revelry after ChiEliteClassic because Thursday December 12th puts Skyler and his team in Minnesota for a match up at the GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase. I have a concert of my own on the 11th, but that won’t stop me. I will fly out the morning of the game even though the team will travel the night before. It’s a very delicate balance. When I was negotiating my fall WTTW Readers are Leaders concert tour months ago I didn’t have any of my son’s tournament dates at hand, but I researched all of the potential tournaments and compared it to the Whitney Young Basketball teams’ 2012-2013 season itinerary and took a leap of faith. When my son’s season schedule was finally released a couple of weeks ago I held my breath with anxiety, but all was good. My research had paid off and I was conflict free. Although there were still shocks to be experienced.

My tour isn’t going to be disrupted, but holiday family time will be. The second big engagement on my son’s team schedule is a trip to Fort Myers Florida for the Culligan City of Palms Classic tournament. The team will depart on December 19th and return on December 24th. Not so bad. They’ll be home for Christmas, ONLY. You see the third trip is to Portland Oregon for the Les Schwab Invitational departing December 26th and returning December 31st. But wait, there’s more. Since school doesn’t start back until January 6th there is really no reason not to head out to West Virginia for the 7th Annual Cancer Research Classic tournament on January 4. Sure that doesn’t sound so terrible, except for one thing, I have more than 1 child! What’s a sports parent to do? The first thought, the easy fix, would be to bring my other two kids with me to Florida, in particular, to support their brother and preserve family holiday vacation time. However, with holiday flights priced in the stratosphere, on top of hotel, car rental and food costs, that is one fix that would actually break my single parent bank. “Just go on your own,” you say? “Your kids will understand.” HA! You haven’t met my youngest!

I have to solve these issues before I can even start thinking about the January 18-20 Spalding Hoophall Classic Tournament in Springfield, MA, the January 25th Penny Hardaway Hoopfest in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Nike Extravaganza Tournament in Santa Ana, CA on February 1st. Being a sports parent of an aspiring elite athlete is seriously time consuming, expensive business. But that’s the gig. Talent and aspirations cannot be ignored, they need to be nurtured. That’s why sports parents are the MVPs on their childrens’ team. The Most Valuable Parents that is. So, with that in mind, I guess I will just have to find a way to make all of this tournament travel work. (That doesn’t mean I don’t need any suggestions. So please, feel free to chime in.)

Want to travel along with me on my “Sports Parent” journey. You don’t need an airline ticket for that. Just join my Twitter conversation with the hashtags #Sportsparentz and #Skyler2016. Join me in the Zone, the sports parent zone that is. Everybody needs a team.

SMILE On!

ML

Miss Lori can be found atMissLori.TVWearetherealdeal.comYoungChicagonistaTheChicagoMoms.com and now on BABBLE.com with her new blog SMILING On With Miss Lori. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on YoutubeFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramTOUT and LinkedIn.

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