Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chess Mom?

I am a Dance Mom. I know how to make a bun in 45 seconds. I can pin plaids and sand shoes with the best of them. (Ok, I always ask the other Moms to pin the plaids.) I know the world of dance and feel at ease there. I know the steps by heart and could dance them myself if not for the fact I would mortify my kids. I know when the bagpiper is playing the sword dance too slow- even if I do watch it through my fingers. I can pick out the winners before they are even announced. I can pin numbers, pull up socks, iron kilts, and have bobby pins coming out my ears.  Tayler and Autumn have boxes of medals and ugly toes.
Yes, I am a Dance Mom.

I am learning to be a Piping Mom. I know they play "tunes" and not "songs." I get chills when I hear Scotland The Brave even after hundreds of times. I know what  drones, chanters, sporrans, and glens are. I drive insane distances for Highland Games and lessons. I know that Nails are not used to hang pictures. I hate to fly but I am pretty sure I am going to Scotland next year to watch the RMM Pipe Band compete in the World Championships. I hear bagpipes even when nobody is playing them. I need to go buy a water trap and hemp.
Yep. I am also a Piping Mom.

But a Chess Mom?

I don't know....I am pretty clueless in this area. Chase adores Chess. He can play for hours and not get tired out. He's tried to teach me but it never goes over very well. I don't think I have the "chess gene."

This weekend he took part in the chess division of the Youth Fair.  Yesterday they had a little tournament and he placed second. He was pretty excited. Last night he kept telling me today was a real tournament. I didn't think he knew what he was talking about, but he insisted. He woke me up early and got me out the door on time. (GASP!) We pulled up to the fairgrounds and there were HUGE chess pieces in front of the doorways and on top of a car.

"Wow!" I thought. "They went all out this year."

We walked in and I was shocked at how official it all looked. There were tables everywhere with chess boards set up. I decided I needed to stay there for the day since it was so crowded. I got the baby all settled and found Chase deep in thought across from a kid, plotting his next move. I couldn't resist the cuteness of the situation and decided to take his picture. I walked up to the table,  told him to smile and clicked away.

"Ummm, You can't do that" I heard from a man behind me.

"Oh! I'm sorry!" I said, turning to face him. He was looking at me like I had three heads.

He went on to explain that you were not allowed to approach the kids, much less take mug shots. After I looked around I realized how silly I was to not know that. All of the parents were far back. I felt like an idiot. I then overheard them saying it was a district competition and those who qualified would go to state.

 I had just stepped into one of those sub cultures, like dance or piping, or Star Trek conventions. I was totally out of the loop. I went and found a chess dad and he filled me in on everything. It took about 30 minutes.

Ok....I got it.
This was a big deal.
And I needed to show a little respect.

Chase won two games (matches? sets? ) Then he lost his next one. He came to me with tears filling his eyes and his voice kept catching as he told me. He kept saying,

"Now I can't go to that other place!" (State)

It was one of those moments when you can hardly stand it because they look so sad. In other words...."Owww."

I was trying to be comforting but was a bit confused because he didn't even know he was going to be in this whole thing until, well....yesterday. It's not like we had been building up to this moment.

"Chase...... its ok," I told him.
"You've only been dreaming this dream for like.....45 minutes...."

( I know what you are thinking...but I said it nicely.)

I hugged him and promised him I would find out how to get him more involved. He looked at me for a second and then told me to just Google Whatcom County Chess.

Yes....good place to begin.

I am more than happy to become a Chess Mom. Because when I watched his face while he was playing, he looked happy. Like he'd rather be sitting there than anywhere else. It thrills him, and I could hear his little wheels turning from across the room. And I've been told you can learn a lot of life lessons in chess. ( I had already learned a couple myself.)

I had three thoughts while I stood there in that hushed environment.

1. I need to learn the rules of this game.
2. I need to talk (and laugh) quietly.
3. I need to buy a  very strong close up flash of course.

Any chess mom knows that.


  1. Oh Michelle... I loved this post. But the good thing is - you don't have to know much about chess to be a good chess mom. In fact, my mom hardly knows anything about chess and she coaches chess. That's why she hires the hires the high school genius boys. And I'm sure she'll be happy to fill you in on all the necessary info. Although, you may have already learned it. ;-)

  2. I am glad to hear you say that. I didn't know your mom coached chess. I was amazed at how the day went. The parents were off to the side knitting, and reading. It was cool how quiet it was. I am not used to quiet at kid's events! Chase is in bed next to me right now with his new chess board, waiting to play. :)

  3. Chess... Mike will play with a few games with him.. sorry but that game makes me snooze... love Scottish stuff... my ancestors on the Scottish side go far back as Earl of Atholl and they live in Blair Castle to this day... we are from the Murray Clan... I have relatives that still live over there... though I have never been there... I LOVE listening to the bagpipes... one day would LOVE to go to Edinburgh to see the Military Tattoo... you are a good mum :)

  4. I love that you're a Highland mom! I grew up doing Highland in Portland and now dance, teach & coach my own little guy down here in Texas. Bet you're looking forward to having Nationals somewhat locally this year! :-)

  5. You're an amazing mom. And a pretty awesome writer too!