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Pam Carey (Minor League Mom): Youth Athletes Shouldn't Be Treated As Pros

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Being the mother of an athlete is a challenging yet rewarding role. At momsTEAM we think sports moms deserve to be honored, not just on the second Sunday in May, but for an entire month. So we have designated May as National Sports Moms Month and invited some veteran sports moms to share their wisdom by responding to a series of questions. We will post a new blog for every day of May, which we hope you will find interesting, empowering, and informative, and that you will share them with your family and friends.

Today we hear from Pam Carey, mom of two former minor league baseball players and author of Minor League Mom:

momsTEAM: Were you an athlete and what sports did you play as a youth (under 19)?

Carey: I competed on a high school field hockey team, but was a cheerleader for twelve years, starting in junior-high and continuing through college. There weren't many teams open to women for competition in the 50's and 60's!

momsTEAM: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a sports mom?Pam Carey

Carey: The most rewarding aspect of being a sports mom is watching your child develop to his/her full potential doing something he/she LOVES.

momsTEAM: What lesson has your sports active child taught you?

Carey: Our sons, now grown, taught my husband and me that we should always maintain our role as parents while they played amateur and professional sports. We had to be there as supportive, loving parents win or lose, but could not whitewash the defeats and didn't brag about the victories (there were always more skilled players than our sons at the next level).

momsTEAM: What is the most important lesson your child is learning from his/her sport?

Carey: The most important lesson our sons learned playing professional baseball (and amateur baseball and ice hockey) was that life was not fair, but with enough confidence in their own abilities, they could deal with it.

momsTEAM: If you could "flip a switch" and change one thing about the culture of youth sports what would it be?

Carey: The playing fields of youth sports (or the arenas) are metaphors for the transition from childhood to adulthood. Coaches' favoritism of their own children on teams and coaches' treatment of middle school and high school athletes as if they were professionals are the things I'd like to see changed in youth sports. Most importantly, I'd like to prevent parents from channeling their children into one sport at young ages and living vicariously through their children's achievements.

momsTEAM: What have you done to make sports better for kids?

Carey:  My husband coached youth baseball (including our own sons, who became professionals) for nine years and played every child equally.  My book, Minor League Mom: A Mother's Journey Through The Red Sox Farm Teams(MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S  JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS), offers parents an inside look at what it was like for us as parents of two talented multi-sport athletes, what happens when athletes turn pro, what it takes to follow a dream, and what the life of pro ballplayers is truly like.

Minor League Mom coverPam Carey writes a weekly blog about life after 60.  Her forthcoming book is Survival Guide for Grown Children with Elderly Parents (Who Have All Their Marbles).

For more blogs in momsTEAM's May is Sports Moms Month series, click here.