I grew up in a family where sports were virtually non-existent. My father never watched a single game. My brother never played on a team. My mother couldn’t have named a single professional athlete. My sister and I were wholly uninterested (and unskilled) at organized sports. We weren’t un-coordinated. My brother was a ski instructor in Utah, my sister was an excellent at figure skating, and me – well, give me a dance step, and I’d learn it in a heartbeat. I was the star in every school play, the soloist in every choral performance.
But until I became a mother myself, I didn’t realize just how much better it is to be the mother of a drama geek than a soccer-playing, baseball bat swinging, basketball, football or lacrosse ball hurling kid. Why? Read on.
1. Drama Moms never have to stand outside in sub-zero weather watching their eight year old get crushed by the opposing team. Yes, that’s right. Rehearsals take place INdoors, thank you very much. Ditto for performances. Drama Moms watch their kids doing their after school activities from a cushioned seat in a heated theatre. Think of that next time you’re freezing your butt off at a 3rd grade soccer game.
2. There is no such thing as a 7:30am Saturday morning rehearsal. Why is it that kids have to play sports at such an un-Godly hour? Drama Geeks (and their parents) operate on theatre time – in preparation, no doubt, for their inevitable future on the Broadway stage. (Ha!) That means nothing starts before 10am. Ever.
3. Performances are Short Lived. If your child plays on a school team, there are – oh, I don’t know – about 492 games a season. And they’re during the day. If you go to the all of the games, you’ll be fired from your job. And if you don’t, you’ll be plagued with guilt forever. No matter how bad your kids’ school play is, chances are, there will only be two of three performances of it. At night. When you’d be home from work anyway. Livelihood and sanity saved.
4. There’s no such thing as a Travel Show. Travel Teams are the bane of even the most enthusiastic sports-mom’s life. No one, no matter how genuinely thrilled to watch their child’s every pass and play, relishes driving three hours — each way — to do so. School plays are performed…get this — at school! And chances are, that’s right nearby.
5. Injuries are Kept to a Minimum. The expression “break a leg” aside, there’s very little chance of show-related injuries. Sure, the occasional dancer twists an ankle, but climbing up the ladder in your High School production of Our Town is unlikely to result in a visit to the emergency room. Of course there is the possibility of an untalented off-spring straining your ability to enthuse over his off-key rendition of The Impossible Dream, but that’s your problem.
6. Your Kid will learn Applicable Life Skills. I know all about sports giving kids confidence, and teaching them about teamwork. Drama Club does that, too. I mean, have you ever seen a one woman production of Twelve Angry Men? But what drama club teaches that sports do not, is the art of pretending. Hate your boss? Your drama club experience will allow you to act like you don’t think said boss is a useless waste of corporate space. You may even have learned enough to be convincingly enthusiastic about working for him or her. This will get you a promotion, or even get you your boss’s job. If you were a child athlete, however, you may end up kicking him, or fouling him, or whatever other sports terms there are for un-sportsmanlike conduct. You’ll be fired and unemployable – the overly physical disgruntled employee. Sorry.
7. Less laundry. Let’s do some math, shall we? Let’s say your child plays little league baseball from age 7-10. One game a week, for an 8 week season, at one post game ice cream per week equals 32 loads of laundry. Then, once they get older, they’re playing soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring, for 96 more loads of laundry. If they play on a travel team, add other 50 loads during the same period. That’s 178 loads of laundry.
Not so in the drama club, kids just wear the same sweaty costume some kid wore last time they did that play.
8. You can’t lose the school play – Just this week, my son’s 5th/6th grade soccer team lost 14-nothing to the opposing team. Even if the play stinks, there will be no comparable concrete evidence of that for the drama kid, just applause.
There are some pitfalls – Drama Moms can become Stage Moms, a terrifying prospect for anyone who has ever seen an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras or a dinner theater interpretation of that cautionary musical for Drama Mama’s everywhere, Gypsy. They may be deluded as to the extent of their child’s talent and force family members to listen to a rendition of Corner of the Sky every time an elderly relative hits a milestone. (Soccer Moms don’t force their kids to “kick for grandma!”)
But still, give me the no early practice, indoor, injury free life of a Drama Mom! Please?