The warrior enters the arena prepared for battle, or at least an extensive period of intense physical, mental and vocal workout.
She has marched to a similar beat on previous occasions and knows the drill as well as any sergeant. This is no rookie, but a seasoned veteran, ready to hit the bleachers with her backside and scream her lungs out for the team.
She is a sports mom, serving on the front lines as her offspring’s number one fan.
Every warrior understands victory begins with a thorough study of one’s enemy – or in this case, a group of nine-year-olds who make up the opposing team. They may look innocent off the ice or basketball court, but these kids have winning on the brain and while all moms wish everyone could win, a smart warrior knows that ain’t going to happen.
A true warrior dresses the part; at least three-quarters of her wardrobe has been purchased in school colors.
Her closet contains the motherload of team spirit. There is no mistaking who she is rooting for, but just in case, she brings a homemade poster board sign with her to every game.
A warrior withstands wind, rain, sun, snow and fluorescent lighting. She is a fan for all seasons and whatever sport her kid is currently playing is her favorite one at the moment.
She braves the elements and, like a good Boy Scout, always comes prepared. During the summer, when noonday temperatures are packing heat, a baseball mom is packing sunscreen. In the cold winter months, hockey moms make like a smart, money-saving phone plan – and bundle.
While cheering is her chief method of support, she often carries weapons – in the form of cowbells, pom-poms and, on occasion, a blow horn. Knowledge serves as her armor.
This warrior is equally schooled in the intricacies of the game, the importance of hydration and concussion safety tips. She carries a rulebook and first aid kit in her purse, just in case. She is loudly disbelieving and cries foul when a referee makes a questionable call.
A warrior must use strategy in the field. Although cheering is her mainstay, she’s learned from experience if you yell too much during the beginning of the game, you won’t have a voice left after the seventh inning stretch. One must conserve warrior energy, strength and vocal chords in accordance with the duration of the competition.
Sometimes, our brave soldier is called on to be a weekend warrior, serving in the trenches 24-7 for an entire three-day stretch at a state tournament in a distant town. Oh, sure, she spends time sitting by the hotel pool, sipping cool drinks and staying up late with the other warrior moms, but the sacrifice is all for the kids.
A mom warrior masters patience, psychology and Mother Nature. She knows never to leave an ongoing game to visit the bathroom because the other team is sure to tie the score, or even pull ahead. Warriors do not abandon the battle because doing so triggers bad mojo.
When the final buzzer rings, the warrior understands the game is more than the numbers on the scoreboard. She values sports for the lessons they teach about teamwork, determination, courage, stamina, resilience, endurance and a couple other qualities she and the other moms learn from the game.
She tells her child to have fun and be safe and that winning isn’t everything – but it’s definitely something, and in all honesty, is a lot more fun than losing.
The warrior gives her all for the team. She attempts to show good sportswomanship – taking her place on the side of the field, ice and court, always cheering for the W (as in warrior).
Although she embodies the aspects of a true warrior, she does not really perceive herself as such, and, at the end of the game, is simply proud to call herself an athletic supporter.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.