Jessica Duff: First-Time New Mom Masters Silent Sports Cheer


Being a parent is tough. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. But as a first-time new mom, I’m realizing this first-hand. Working full time, keeping my regular schedule and raising a baby keep me busier than I ever expected.

There’s one area of my life, though, that has taken a backseat the past few months: My attention to the sports world.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what’s going on – who won which games, which coach has been hired/fired… But when it comes to sitting down and actually watching games, that’s a lost luxury.

My daughter, Avery, was born July 2nd of this summer. I am beyond thrilled to be a mother and couldn’t have asked for a better blessing than she is now. But as a devoted sports fanatic, I feel my dedication is slipping.

I haven’t been able to sit and watch a game in its entirety all football season. If I did get chance to watch more than a quarter’s worth of a game, it was because my daughter fell asleep in my arms. I love that feeling of holding her while she’s sleeping. That peaceful, angelic look on her face. But, I must admit, it’s tough to react to the action of the game when you’re holding a sleeping baby.

I did, however, master the silent sports cheer. In fact, I recall earlier this season when Tennessee and South Carolina played in Knoxville. It all came down to the finalsports cheer 1 seconds of the game, Michael Palardy stepped up to kick a 19-yard field goal to win the game as time expired. Naturally, you jump up and cheer and scream in excitement. Well, my baby girl was asleep in my arms so my reaction was the excited silent scream. My parents, who I was with during the game, did the same.

Lucky for me, my daughter is a sound sleeper and the jumping around motion didn’t seem to faze her a bit. Ok, enough on the Tennessee celebration. Those were few and far between this season anyway.

I work in sports, therefore I need to follow sports. But the idea of staying up late to watch Sunday night, Monday night or even Thursday night football is an absurd thought. I’ve tried, believe me, to stay up and catch the action. But the later it gets past 10 p.m., the harder it is for me to stay awake knowing I may or may not get a full night’s rest. I hate that I’m missing out on some great games. It tugs at my sports-loving-heart to not watch these games live and in their entirety.

Thank goodness for Twitter. I’m up before most people these days, so I often check Twitter first thing to catch up on what I’ve missed from the night before. It’s not the same as seeing it on TV, but that’s what SportsCenter highlights are for. It fills the hole for sports action, but I sure do miss seeing it in real time with the rest of the world.

Football season is nearly over. Bowl season has officially kicked off. Perhaps I’ll catch a game from top to bottom. The games are great and I’ll always enjoy watching sports. But it’s not the end of the world if I miss a game from time to time. Being a mom is more than enough action for me. I am blessed beyond belief to have a happy, healthy baby girl. I’ll catch a game when I can. And in a couple of years, my precious Avery will watch them with as much enthusiasm as her mom. I can’t wait.

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