The Things We Do For Love: Two Decades Of Youth Sport In Los Alamos


I think this week’s Duke City soccer game might be our final foray into local kids’ sports.  I will be sad.  Last weeks game was exciting.  It was graduation so we had no players to spare.  One forgot her cleats so the coaches spouse drove to the sport store and bought her a new hot pink pair because she had driven down with us and noone noticed the missing shoes.  Such kind deeds are common and uncommonly lovely. 

I will mostly miss this phase of life.  There have been so many good times — bad, too.  Sometimes there is scandal like this week in the softball program where tempers flare, feelings are hurt, and we are left wondering who to believe.  More often, though,  it’s good.

Probably my least favorite moment ever in kids’ sports came a few years ago when my youngest returned from a high school tryout mortified after the coach, in front of all the other players,  pointed out that, I, her mother, had written letters opposing the Rec Bond in the local press.  What this had to do with soccer was beyond me then and now.

Another weird situation which still leaves me mystified is why years ago when another of the kids played hockey – – my older daughter in a predominantly male program — she was constantly questioned by other hockey moms why she didn’t want to go play girls’ hockey elsewhere.  What was so creepy about this was that almost to a person these woman were LANL scientists.  Being the wicked sports’ mom I am, I always had a burning urge to ask them why they didn’t seek “normal” female jobs — maybe be a beautician or waitress?

But when you have kids — homeschooled kids at that — you learn to keep the peace and keep quiet.  Sometimes the price of silence is high.  Words matter.  Being respectful of each other is essential.  I have seen parents brutally bully coaches, coaches bully kids, and lots of just plain awful, inconsiderate behavior,  but mostly we get along.  This is what matters.

I can’t imagine these last twenty years without all the coaches, volunteers, snack assemblers, cleat rounder uppers, underpaid and abused officials, and all my fellow parents who have taught the kids practice after practice, and game after game what it means to be a good person — how to win or lose with class.  

I can’t imagine the last several years either without all of those who make the other sports opportunities in town happen, too, like Los Alamos Triatomics and Pajarito Riders.  The local triathlon, duathlon, and Tour de Los Alamos are treasures which, let’s hope, will come back strong after the pandemic.  My son learned so much riding with all of these people.  I missed seeing all the soggy Splash and Dash runners last year. 

Despite all the construction, let’s hope for better this summer.

Lynn Hanrahan
Los Alamos