With the last softball game approaching, my daughter’s team will surely have a party to mark to occasion. It seems a sport cannot end without a big party celebrating the conclusion of two months together. It doesn’t matter that not all of the kids could accurately name each of their teammates or that a score wasn’t kept at a single game, it’s time to party. This used to mean everyone drove to the ice cream parlor after the last game or headed over to Round Table Pizza for a meal immediately following the game. Now there is scheduling, negotiations, and often times drama around organizing a high maintenance end of the season party.
Last year a team mom wanted to rent out Pump It Up or a local swim place for a fun team party. Meanwhile our last game ended at noon and took place right across the street from a pizza parlor, but she said that wasn’t fun enough. “It’s a PARTY,” she exclaimed, unaware that for a team full of four year old boys, juice boxes and cupcakes are all that’s needed to qualify as a party. This year, on another team, a mom stepped up early and began organizing the end of season party, only to have another mom with a need for control undermine the whole thing at the last minute. On yet another team, a friend congratulated me when I told her the name of my son’s coach. “You’re on that team? He throws the best end of the year party.” The process highlights the emotional needs of the parents, rather than the need to celebrate the accomplishments of the season.
For me, I want it over with. I’ve given up months of Saturdays and some evenings, so to me, the end of the season signifies a little more free time until the next sport begins. I don’t get nostalgic about the end. I like to say our thank yous and move on. We go to the parties for the kids. My kids love eating pizza with their teammates and begging for quarters to play video games, which is why we put up with the drama of when, where and how big the party will be, when I’d really rather go home and enjoy my free Saturday.