In my mind, there are two kinds of people: those who hate the sound of shoes squeaking on the basketball court (“It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard!”) and those who think it is one of the sweetest sounds on Earth. I am in the latter group. In fact, just thinking about it now has me rolling my eyes in ecstasy.
We have season tickets to watch a local college team, and as we head toward the playoffs, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve missed…and what I might have missed. On the one hand, I’m envious of the mom of one of our seniors. He has had a phenomenal record-breaking career, and she must be so proud. I used to think I’d be a mom like her, the one who would humbly accept praise from the other fans in between screaming her head off as she cheered her kid to victory. I would have been a great basketball mom.
But in reality, if I were a mom now, I’d be missing all this. I’d be the one at home breastfeeding or helping with homework or taking care of the kid with a cough while my husband went out and had all the fun. For the better part of a decade (depending on the number of kids I was mothering), I might catch highlights on the evening news, but most likely I’d fall into an exhausted sleep while listening to my husband deliver his play-by-play account. I would have missed the thrilling one-point wins, the bad calls, the game-winning steals, the Hail Mary shots. I would have missed the camaraderie, the strategy talks with the coach, the high-fives across the rows of devoted fans. I. Love. Basketball.
I know, I know, there are other rewards in being a mom. But in celebration of being childfree, I have to say I’d rather be sitting courtside on the home court than sidelined at home.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with being childfree.