I can count on zero fingers the times my dad argued a call while watching me play sports.  I can count on the same number of fingers the times he approached my coach about playing time.  My sporting life was my own; it was something for him to watch and enjoy, I guess.  When I didn’t play much, that was likely my responsibility.  If there was some kind of problem, there were usually some kinds of solutions- more practice, more effort, more focus, talk with the coach [myself].  I was, after all, the one playing the sport.  Sure my folks were paying, but that didn’t seem to ever equate to absolute player equity in their minds.  They didn’t ever seem to expect anything.  If I started, they were proud.  If I didn’t, they sat and watched until I got some time.  If I played first base, great.  If I played deep left? Great. End of the bench? Must be a reason. I was the one playing [or not playing], not them.

Practice? Got dropped off, like all the others.  When practice was over? Got picked up, eventually.  Practice was with my coach and teammates.  That was practice.

My parents were spectators.  Pure spectators.  I like that.  I like that I can write these words with absolute truth and confidence.  My parents loved that I played sports, lots of sports, and they supported me as much as they could… but I was the one playing, or sitting, during that time.  It was my own experience. I like that.

-Tom Mooney
p.s. The people in this photo are not my parents.

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