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You know you're a sports mom when

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Sports moms are a rare breed. We eat, sleep, and bleed blue (or whatever your team color is) and we are constantly on the go. We value competition, we love a good win just as much as our children, and we (eventually) accept every loss as a bridge to greatness. We wear personalized team-mom clothing and make special psych-boxes for the biggest games. We watch in the rain, the snow, the heat and the cold. We hate to miss a game. At the end of each season, we plan parties and make slide shows and the most sensitive among us may even shed a tear or two when we say goodbye to our beloved sports family- even if it is just until next season.

Behind every sports mom, regardless of what sport her child plays, there are some universal sports-mom truths. It takes a special woman to be one of us, but one thing is for sure: once you become a sports mom, there is no turning back.

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Here are the top 10 Signs you are a sports mom:

10) Your car is your home-away-from-home

You spend more time in your car than anywhere else, except maybe work. You are constantly shuttling one child to soccer and the other from hockey, and your trunk is most certainly filled with water bottles, blankets, extra snacks, lawn chairs, and random socks that you will undoubtedly spend an entire Saturday morning looking for while your child yells about how late he is going to be for the big game!

9) The homework struggle is real

I mean really, who has time for homework after school, sports, dinner and a shower? You try and you try to get your child to complete all of their homework before sports, but no matter what, they save it until 9 p.m. Sometimes they even consider skipping the post-sports shower so they can finish their homework and please child, no, don’t ever skip the shower. This brings me to #8.

8) Your kids smell

They run, they skate, they leap, they tackle. They work hard and they sweat harder. Hopefully, they wear deodorant, but even the prescription-strength antiperspirant can’t tame the stench of an adolescent athlete. You out-launder the smell that comes from the shin-guards and sports bras. You have a collection of every anti-smell agent on the market, and you have that one, designated spot (the porch or the basement?) where you throw all the smelly equipment in between games. You, sports mom, are a smell-slayer.

7) You’re broke

You pay the regular registration price, the team dues, and purchase all of the equipment. Don’t forget the gas that expensively gets you from Massachusetts to New York and then back to Massachusetts… and, of course, everyone’s favorite fall tournament, complete with a 3-night hotel stay. As your kids get older, there are team dinners and team merch as they call it. You selflessly forego that pair of Lululemon leggings you want (and so deserve) so your athlete can get that over-priced tournament sweatshirt, because you, my friend, are the ultimate sports mom.

6) Your athlete is hungry...all the time

If they are not at practice or a game, chances are they are asking what’s for dinner or lunch or second dinner as I like to call it. You know that time after practice when they totally forget that they have already had dinner because they just worked it all (and then some on) off the field? Yea, that’s the second dinner and really, who can keep up with 4 meals a day?

5) You are that mom

Anytime the ball is in a 10-inch vicinity of your child, you loudly yell, “Go (insert your child’s name here).” It doesn’t really matter if your superstar does something wonderful or athletic- or if they even touched the ball at all- you simply cheer loudly and proudly. You are their biggest fan, and the truth is, you should be! And they should know it.

4) You lend them an ear, and a shoulder

Sometimes your children need to vent about practice or the team or an upsetting loss. You lend them an ear. Other times, they need a good cry and you lend them a shoulder. You are their #1 fan on the field and their #1 supporter off the field. Sports teach kids about winning and losing, teamwork and humility, selflessness and injustice. These are not always easy lessons for kids to learn. You, sports mom, are there to help them as they learn the harsh realities of sports and life.

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3) You don't really have a weekend

Weekend invites are always met with a let me get back to you, because you must check the ever-changing sports schedules. It is rare that you (or your child) are able to attend weekend birthday parties or other social events because, well, games. You wake up earlier on the weekends than you do during the week and your days are just as busy-if not busier-than your weekdays.

2) You once yelled at a ref

Yes, I know, you are not that kind of a mom (unless you’re a hockey mom). It just isn’t like you to yell at a referee or official, but chances are you have done this at least once. It is what we do. The games are intense and they matter. This team playing in front of you and the parents next to you on the sideline- they have become your extended family and they have likely seen you at your best and worst. We aren’t always proud when we lose our cool at a game over a bad call, but hey, it’s one of those things we learn from. Don’t worry, sports mom, we have all been there. No one is judging.

1) You don't ever want it to end

You can’t imagine a life without sports. On the rare weekends when there are no games, you suffer from a case of culture shock and you can’t quite figure out what to do all weekend long. What is going to happen when your child is in college and beyond? Despite the costs, the chaos, and the smelly equipment, you know the day will come when you desperately miss the tournaments, team dinners, and sideline cheering. Before you know it, your U10 soccer player will be donning the local high school’s Varsity jersey as you sit on the sideline and wonder, where did the time go?

You likely didn’t choose this lifestyle, but this lifestyle sure as hell chose you! So embrace it, enjoy it and cheer your freaking heart out, mom.

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