Darcie Maranich

Darcie Maranich


My six-year-old son just had his first t-ball game of the season. It’s his second year playing and already we’ve seen huge improvements in his coordination skills and understanding of the game. Whereas last year he paid closer attention to the dirt of the infield than the ball, this year he clamors for it and knows to make the throw to first base. And speaking of first base, I can also proudly report that his navigational skills can now get him to first after he’s hit the ball. He’s not the only one, though, who learned a thing or two last year. In this, my second year as team mom, I’m more confident in and commanding of the role.

I signed on last year only because nobody else would. Because ours is a league run by volunteers, it stands to reason that it would most assuredly fall apart without somebody—experienced or not—stepping up to fill empty slots. And so I did just that, confident that the other parents on the team would be equally willing to pitch in and get the job done. Unfortunately, I may have been a bit naïve. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite so simple to rally team spirits. My blank sign-up sheet for providing post-game snacks remained mostly empty, despite my best recruitment efforts. And when it came time to fill our team’s assigned shifts in the snack bar, well, let’s just say that pulling teeth would have been easier.

Having learned from last year’s challenges, this year I’m skipping the post-game snack sign-up sheet altogether. We do still have those assigned snack bar shifts to cover. Rather than asking for volunteers this year, I went down the roster and alphabetically assigned each parent to a single shift. One hour-long shift never killed anybody, right? I can’t be sure. Based on the earful I received from a parent during our first game, I’m left wondering. I responded in as understanding and sympathetic a manner as I could muster, but still I was left feeling downhearted at the unwillingness to pitch in.

The truth of the matter is that we all have full schedules and activities we’d rather be doing. But if everybody took the approach of being too busy to volunteer, then there wouldn’t be a league to begin with.

When that mom made a scene and pitched a fit about fulfilling her snack bar duty, she viewed me as the bad guy, or gal, more accurately. She saw only that I was the one telling her she had to work the shift while I was able to sit and enjoy the game. What she ignored was the fact that as team mom, I’ve already volunteered a significant amount of time attending a mandatory meeting, compiling roster information, composing emails, organizing and passing out uniforms, and devising a schedule for our snack bar shifts. Not only that, but I’m also doing my hour in the snack bar later in the season when we make it halfway through the alphabetical assignments. When you consider those things, it sure makes a single snack bar shift more tolerable, one would think.

I know that should I agree to taking on team mom duties in the future, there will always be someone like that mom. Someone quick to complain and slow to help out. I just hope that those kinds of people remain in the minority because they sure make it tough on those of us willing to pull our own weight and do so with a smile.

(1) comment

John Flanagan

Your experience is more typical than unusual. Most groups, organizations, clubs, churches, charities, rely heavily on the small dedicated minority of committed members and leaders who provide the sweat and effort, while much of the membership prefer to enjoy the benefits without doing any work. I suppose many of us during our lives, due to our personal apathy or circumstances may have been on either one side or the other. That is the reality.

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