This post is for the girl whose brothers are on sports teams. Yes, there can be an option to tune out and scroll through Instagram when you’re “stuck” at a game (or skip the game altogether), but there’s also the awesome opportunity to become engaged in something your brother is interested in and be a blessing to him on + off the field. Here’s 8 fairly simple ways to encourage him during his sports season!
1: Bring treats for his team.
It’s common knowledge that guys LOVE to eat! And good news: their favorites usually aren’t the lengthy recipes with fancy garnishes. Two favorites are simple, large pans of soft pretzel bites and gooey brownies (for the chewy type, bake less than the desired time). If you don’t bake, there’s still stuff you can bring like jugs of chocolate milk and bunches of bananas (slightly cheesy, but you can scribble “finish strong” messages lightly on the banana peels with a toothpick earlier in the day & they’ll brown to show up later, haha!) Though it’s obviously not the goal, the thankful compliments you’ll most probably hear from these hungry teammates will make your day! Hint for the XC sisters (if you know what that stands for, you’re probably one 🙂 ): you can host a pasta dinner the night before a meet with pasta, alfredo and/or marinara sauces, bread, and cookies.
[Side note: Even though everything within me wants to bring surprise treats for the team, I usually do stick with checking with my brother before bringing treats, just to get a go-ahead that it’s okay. I definitely don’t want to embarrass him, like if it’s a newer or older-aged team. And if he prefers not sometime, learn to let it go.]
2: Keep score.
If you want to get crazy informed about the game, learn to keep score. It will keep you focused and your brothers will love flipping back through the details. And you just may even be recruited to be the official scorekeeper of the game (and get yelled at by umpires once or twice for not tallying the score fast enough *cough*). To learn, I’d suggest simply sitting next to the person scoring the game. You can bring your own scorebook and they’re usually super willing to let you copy their scribbles. You can get a scorebook like this one from local sports store or print off a free sheet online. (Tip: If it’s raining, bring a large ziploc bag to write in.) If you prefer digital, you can use an app like GameChanger. You can also start out with keeping track of one specific thing your brother/team asks you to record, like pitch counts or rebounds.
3: Take video footage.
Hit record on your iPhone once in a while, especially if you see a potentially good play coming up. They often love to watch and analyze those clips over & over again.
4: Take pictures for the team.
If you’re into photography, you can do a team picture and/or action shots of all the guys. I semi-recently asked the coaches of my brother’s soccer team if they’d like me to grab a team picture and they quickly got excited since they hadn’t had a picture yet and soon posted it for the guys on the club’s website. It may take mustering up a bit of courage to be the random girl to go to the sidelines after the game to ask the coaches, but almost always they’re super surprised & grateful! Profile pictures are often updated and you’ll get photography practice. One final reminder: in the excitement of profile pictures switching & everything, please don’t forget pictures of your own brother! Take the most and best of him.
5: Learn names.
Learn the names of the guys on the team, if possible. (Bonus points if you learn the names of fellows siblings/parents of teammates, too!) You can help other fans out by typing up a wallet-sized list of names/their numbers. For baseball games, specifically: If your team doesn’t have one already, you can type up & laminate a big poster of the guys’ numbers/names, punch holes in the corners, and clip it up with rings onto a fence. The families/fans will love you for it!
6: Watch the game.
Seems obvious, but pay attention to what’s happening. Bring up key plays later. Ask questions. Even if it’s a seemingly silly question, if you’re sincerely interested, they’re usually excited to explain.
7: Workout together/help him with practice.
Girl, you don’t have to be an official athlete! Pretty much anyone can still retrieve foul balls, kick a soccer ball for repetition, time drills, videotape footage. If you are really into it, go for it with joining him on workouts, those sprints, playing goalie, or whatever would help him out! Also, if your brother isn’t yet driving/you are, you can drive him to practice & have good conversation along the way.
Because the grass stains are endless, yes?
You may have many hours tallied at baseball diamonds, soccer fields, 5K race routes, basketball courts, and indoor training facilities. But when the underlying goal is to grow closer to your brothers, become interested in what they’re interested in, and bless them, it just might find you in the stands watching your athlete’s games! [Or out of breath from practically running your own 5K while moving from point to point at cross country meets… #dontwearflatsorheels]
Please share additional ideas in the comment box below – we’d absolutely love to hear. 🙂
Cheering you on as you cheer him on!
[Elizabeth is a second generation sister-with-all-brothers. 4 of her favorite things to do with her brother bears include turning up the music loud in the car, playing soccer/volleyball together, late-night ice cream runs, and muddy outdoor adventures.]