Warning: (Tired) Basketball Musings

Yesterday was an outrageous day, basketball wise. Oh good, you want to hear about basketball! I’m so glad.

The thing is, basketball is taking over my life. And when I say that it’s mostly with a heart of love and affection. I love this season because it’s so much a part of what we do, who we are. We have a lot of boys. My husband loves basketball. My boys love basketball. I generally head into this season with a firm grasp on reality, which ends up not being reality reality. I generally need a pep-talk about half the way through, with someone telling me it’s going to be okay, this isn’t how life is always going to be, the entire universe is not out to get you.

That last part is ridiculous of course, no one is out to get me. This is fun and wonderful and good! We’re playing basketball! (We love that basketball).

But as is custom, I’ve hit that part of the season where I’m getting numb. Yesterday, as I mentioned, was outrageous. We had four boys playing on four different teams (with boy one playing on two teams) and we played at a school that has two basketball gyms within their complex.

So I had: Augie playing in Gym A while Elliott played in Gym B. And then after the girls games, I had Charlie in Gym A and Ethan and Elliott in Gym B. Simultaneous-like.

It actually worked out so beautifully yesterday because there was a lag in games. So I got to watch Augie’s entire game and then cross the hall over to Elliott’s game. I thought I was going to miss that one (Paul coaches Elliott’s team so it’s kinda like a twofer) but ended up seeing almost the entire game, which was a GREAT game. And then, bless ye God of Clocks, Charlie’s game started not long after that, so I crossed back over to settle in for more fun.

By this time we had ingested: one baggie of grapes; two powerades; two coldish hotdogs; two baggies of mini-marshmallows; two airhead candies. Because we don’t have a tab at away games, which is very good for my budget.

But something happened around my ninth or tenth quarter of basketball watching which was: my corneas started to bleed. No, no. Not that. I just sort of hit the wall. Between cheering and trying to remember what game we were in and did I see that excellent play in this game or the game two hours ago?, on top of keeping track of Henry and Isa (who were by now delirious), I just had to scoot. In every human person there is a limit to the amount of basketball they can watch (while wrangling younger children) and I had officially hit mine.

I was mulling over these facts in my mind and decided I wouldn’t write about this because a) yawn and b) it might possibly read as a sob story. But then I decided what this actually was, in my mind is a c) survival story. One we can all recognize.

Because here’s a little admission: Paul walked me and Henry and Isabel to the van and I…cried. I cried!

I had made it through two and a half games (which began, I won’t go into details, with Henry narrowly avoiding being hit by a car on the way into the gym, thus starting the evening on a real high note). I had gotten a van full of boys out to the gym, brought snacks, brought games, left my home in a state that was tidy and clean, and then we arrive and my son almost gets crushed and I kinda lose it. Just a little.

And then I regroup and go and watch a buuuunnnnccchhh of basketball and cheer for all those boys (not just mine, ALL those boys) and have so much fun and then, BAM. That’s it. I feel a tic coming on. Good feelings gone.

The takeaway here is…duuuuudddee.


The takeaway here is maybe don’t compare? Because I kept thinking, “I can do better! I can last one and a half more games!” But the truth is I’ve learned (I’m learning) that it’s best to leave the party on a high note, if you can, than to push through and do it all in a compromised state and then start yelling at all your children at the top of your lungs because DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE IS FUN DONT TOUCH THAT ORNAMENT!!!!

Or so I’m told.

Yes, sometimes it’s best not to do every single last thing you can fit on your calendar because at some point, someone is going to pay. And it might not be you. It might be someone you love dearly and they are standing there when you realize you’ve crossed the line of all that is good and holy and reasonable to do. And you’re done, you’re over it, and the energy and sanity it takes to be nice to those around you done R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

I think to myself, why is this news to you? You’ve had children for a while now? Why are you struggling with feelings of failure? Shouldn’t you be over that by now.

Well, maybe so. But here I am. And there’s no use beating myself up. Today is another day. Today we don’t have games! But we have more this weekend, and that’s good too! I’m going to take things one step at a time, and enjoy everything to my best ability. With joy in my heart and PEACE in my spirit.

After all these years of being a mom, I’m still learning. Aren’t we all?


  1. Kerry Balthrop says:

    Remember it’s ok every now and then to get a baby sitter for the younger kids so you can enjoy your older ones. I highly recommend it.

  2. I could handle sitting through all the games. Both my kids play and we had three games back to back last weekend and it was grand! BUT! And this is key – I was not trying to amuse two small children. Because all bets would have been off at that point! I commend you for making it through as many games as you did (and your younger kids as well)!!

  3. I felt the same way this last weekend Rachel-but after Saturday I decided to take a breather on Sunday and Janey and I stayed home from the games-she needed a nap and I needed her to take a nap.

    • Every so often, I need to be willing to do that I think… But I DO miss all the away games.

  4. Thank you for this post and your honesty!! It encourages me and was just what I needed to hear tonight! Makes me feel like I’m not the only one. Thanks.

  5. Well Rachel, this almost made me cry!! I did tear up. Oh those moments when we have just had enough and don’t feel comfortable saying that because we’re the moms and we have to be everywhere and do everything all the time! It is soo important to be reminded that is not true. Thank you for your honest sharing Rachel. It has helped an entire family in Kentucky breathe easier, even if the dad and boys don’t know that!

  6. Love this.

  7. Is it wrong that I get so much enjoyment in your description of something so grueling? It’s just your writing and your humor I like…not all that other stuff that’s hard on you.
    My one son has a coach who coaches four of his kids, so when I feel like complaining about two of my boys and their games and practices, I think about how crazy his life is. But you take the cake, I think. Good luck. You’re halfway through the season.

  8. Why go? Why is there the expectation that parents attend games? Or every game? It is making you crazy and adding very little value. They can tell you how it went.

    • I really like going! It’s just when I hit my limit, then I’m done! I’m just learning that having a limit isn’t a bad thing.

  9. Wow – thanks for being honest and keeping it real. You seem to be blessed with a gift to look back on things after the fact and get grounded – look at those times for what they are, acknowledge a moment, pray for the next time to be better, and accept God’s grace to get you past it and readied for the next time. It’s a great reminder to us all that we ALL go through these moments as moms!

  10. Sigh. I feel for you. The most I had was 3 kids and four teams. Now I’m just down to the two boys.

    At our youngest’s first game this season we made the college kid and the high schooler get up early and go with us! Only fair. since he had gone to a million of their games.

  11. I love your blog! Makes me feel like I am not the only one. Five boys here; another baby on the way. Mid basketball season with pinewood derby on deck and science projects deadlines looming.I felt like crying the other night! I think maybe I could bring tears on right now lol. Someone kindly suggested maybe I should ‘declutter’ the schedule, but how could i ? We love love love basketball and scouts and music (one plays bass in show choir just to mix it up of course). But wow, January is the most exhausting month of the year!

    • So true. And Pinewood Derby! We have the year off from that. Man, then I’d really be nuts. But it’s all so fun too!

  12. Oh, yeah. Pinewood Derby. For us it’s always the first Saturday in January. How’s that for a nice relaxing Christmas?

  13. This raising of boys, it can make me raw and a little overdone some times too. The games, back to back, jumping through hoops, cheering and then consoling. I love it all, but oh did I get this post and those emotions!

    These are the nights when I enjoy a glass of wine, once all has calmed down and I’ve had a good cry – its like emotion and sensory overload needing to spill out.

    I love having boys, and finding out I’m not alone when I have my moments of “I really need to exhale now”.

  14. Kate Kelly says:

    It really is ok to not attend all the games…

    • Wha??!

      Thanks, I do know that. I actually miss a bunch when they travel, so I try to get to the games I can handle when they’re in town.

  15. great post Rachel ..thanks for keeping it real ..your doing a great job as a mom ..we all function differently and no our limits ..I appreciate your honesty !!

  16. Rachel, You are not alone! I can totally relate. One season I had 3 of my 4 boys playing sports and literally had a game or practice (sometimes 2) Monday thru Saturday. And then I was playing on a soccer team myself and had games on Sundays after church! I also had a toddler in tow. It was super crazy and exhausting but somehow we made it through. And, believe me, I wasn’t about to give up my soccer…it was keeping me from insanity. Ask for help and take people up on their offer to watch your kids, or walk them around the gym or whatever! Carpool is a very handy thing, too.

    Why do I go to every game? Because I LOVE watching my boys play their sport! I didn’t sign them up and pay the money so I don’t watch them. I can rejoice with them and be a listening ear when they need it. BUT, we all have a limit to what we can handle at that moment. Maybe today we can watch 2 games, maybe tomorrow it’s 12, maybe the next day it’s none. It’s quite ok and moms need to take that break otherwise we will be that mom who says DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE IS FUN DON’T TOUCH THAT ORNAMENT!!

    Love your honesty and humor. Hugs from Colorado!

    • Thanks! That’s so cool that you’re on a soccer team! I was part of a running group for a while and it was SO fun.

  17. I am in the trenches with you – four schedules, 4-6 games per weekend with a 2 year old and 1 year old, oh, and a 7 year old jabber mouthed, concession stand addicted daughter who likes to try out every bathroom in all the gyms just to entertain herself. I know that bomb feeling where everyone is congratulating you on the excellent basket that your big baby made on the court and you either didn’t see it because of your distractions or don’t remember it because of your senility.

  18. I love and appreciate your blog. I always feel like you are a kindhearted mom, even when frustrated and imperfect (like the rest of us!) It’s such a nice tone. I always love the warm-hearted mommy blogs the best. 🙂 Your reminder to clear the clutter from the calendar because even lots of fun activities can feel like TOO MUCH, is a great one. I copied out that particular paragraph so I can remind myself of it when I’m tempted to do too much, and that it might not necessarily be the best thing for the whole family. Thank you!

  19. I’m glad you shared this. God Bless.

  20. And I stuck with Kolbe! Ha! Like you needed one more person to track!

  21. I only have one playing basketball and I am exhausted by the schedule. Do your boys play in a Catholic League? My son (13) plays for his school (Catholic), and I have gone through a period of disillusionment with sports, especially with the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). My son’s school started late because there were so many boys signed up to play they wanted to make 2 teams. Only they didn’t make even teams. They split the boys up according to skill level. We were fine with this because it meant more playing time for my son and we thought if he played in a lower division his team would be matched up with players of similar skills. We soon learned that many of the coaches have their teams play poorly the first couple of games so they will be placed in a lower division and have a better chance at a trophy/championship. So even though my son’s team was placed the 6th out of 7th division, he was still playing teams much more skilled than his team. They have been losing each game like 50- 14. It is disheartening to watch these boys play their hearts out and get so defeated. And the coaches and parents of the other teams laugh at our team and continue to play aggressively even when they are 30 or more points ahead. I mistakenly thought that in a Catholic League things would be different. We complained to the Commisioner, but he just put the team down to Division 7 instead of moving the other teams up. I don’t even want to go to the games anymore.

    • I am so sorry! That sounds just terrible. One of our teams is getting destroyed every game and it’s so painful. But it’s just how things are. We are a really small school and it’s our entire sixth grade class of boys that is B team (plus a few 7th graders). And we play teams that have 8th graders who just didn’t make the A team. Such is life. In the end it’s just basketball… BUT I’m very sorry for what you are having to endure. That sounds like a hot mess.


  1. […] laughed. I cried. I totally empathized when I read this post by Rachel Balducci. Those of you with many, especially with some that are old enough for organized sports, will really […]