A tribute to moms who manage youth sports teams

It’s been a busy spring for the Albany Alleycats football organization. In addition to league games, practices, travel tournaments and State Cup games, Alleycat parents and players dropped off five truckloads of donations at the Artwork from Ronald McDonald Houses in the Capital Region.

With coaches freed up to do what they do best – instruct players – a team leader can play a vital role in providing a full travel sport experience for players.

And often it’s a team mum who takes care of these details.

“It takes a village to really have a successful team and that includes teaching kids and enabling kids to understand what it takes to engage and be part of something bigger than themselves,” said longtime football coach Betsy Drambour. “And without a strong team leader, that wouldn’t happen.”

“I want kids to give back. We tell the managers, but not all of them get away with it,” Drambour said.

MomsTEAM, a website, offers advice on how to be a team leader. The creator of the site, Brooke of Lenchis the author of “Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports” (Harper Collins), and speaker, keynote speaker, and symposium panelist on a wide range of youth sports topics.

The MomsTEAM website has articles on how women as mothers and caregivers should use their experiences in sport to become more actively involved on the boards of youth sports organizations in addition to serving as mothers. of team. One of the many roles of the team leader is to be a sounding board for other parents when problems arise. Constant communication between the coach, team manager and team parents is essential.

“It’s a big commitment,” Drambour said, noting that team managers need tough skin, just like coaches, to deal with complaining parents.

Drambour was quick to point out that team leaders often have to work with coaches who lack organizational skills.

“I rely on our team leaders so much – I’m glad they’re supporting me,” Drambour said with a laugh, pointing directly to his own lack of basic spreadsheet knowledge.

I have a particular interest in the Alleycats program this year. My niece is one of the team managers in the organization and her two daughters play on travel teams. I’ve spent the past two weeks knowing every detail of her schedule as she spent several hours a day sitting by her mother’s bedside at Mountain Valley Hospice in Gloversville, an hour’s drive from her home. . His mother is my sister, who died on April 28 at age 68 after a battle with cancer. A reminder to be generous with hugs and kisses and to carve out special moments with moms and grandmas far beyond Mother’s Day.

On top of everything else, my niece coordinated the Ronald McDonald House event.

Sunday morning, after celebrating her mother’s life with her friends and family on Friday, my niece and her Alleycat parents piled into cars to drive to Long Island for the miserable drive to and from a State Cup game. . A drive of almost four hours one way – if the traffic is good – to play a single game. On Mother’s Day. Whore.

But as windshield weather and State Cup victories can provide memories that last a lifetime, what these players will proudly remember from the Alleycat Travel Team experience years from now will be dropping off the donations. on a beautiful spring day at Ronald McDonald House on South Lake Avenue in Albany.

Joyceb10bassett@gmail.com • @joyceb10bassett • timesunion.com/author/joyce-bassett

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Ruth J. Leeds