How many of you are like me? While growing up you played as many sports as you could—baseball, basketball, football, and even soccer (VERY little)! I was NOT the best athlete. There were many of my teammates who did a much better job than I ever did. But I tried hard and hoped my coaches thought I did my best.
Now you are all grown up and your children have grown to an age they are ready to start playing organized sports. How are you going to handle it? Are you worried about being the "loud" parent, the "expert" parent, or the "complaining" parent?
When our children start playing sports, we tend to put on the blinders. We, as parents, are tempted to see our child as the next Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, or even Nolan Ryan. "Our kid is the next superstar!"
They might be, but they are only five! So, let's consider the practical development of our child's athletic abilities first before we get them a major-league contract.
We observed our precious, little, glasses-wearing, curly-haired blondie waiting for the ball to be freed from the clutches of the mob and have a chance to give it a big kick. Every once in a while, the ball bounced out and Maddy ran after it, only to be overtaken by the mob once again. Then Maddy assumed her position of trailing the mob in hopes of another chance.
Yes! I, the father, was the one questioning the involvement of my oldest daughter in organized sports. But, to no avail. My wife's persistence won out and Emily started soccer. Looking back on those early years, it was fine. Actually, it was more than fine, it was great! Organized sports was a great opportunity for our girls to learn about cooperation, sportsmanship, and having fun with teammates
I'm not going to say we are perfect. We have made mistakes, but like so many before, we tried to learn from those mistakes . . . Kari and I did so many "right" things with our first two girls. Even the things we got wrong, we tried to fix and perfect. So, when our third, Olivia came along we thought, "We’ve got this!"
Olivia is four years younger than Maddy. Since the day she was born, she was toted from soccer game to soccer game and every single event of her two older sisters. When Olivia was old enough to play soccer, why wouldn't she play?
So, there we have it! Three unique individuals, pursuing three unique sports. Emily stayed with soccer up to the age of 10, and then found her heart pulling her towards cross country and track and field. Now each of our girls pursues what interests them.—Emily with running, Maddie kicking the soccer ball, and Olivia flipping head over heels in gymnastics.
When our children get involved in organized sports, we want them to do well. We want them to succeed. We want them to be the best. But the reality of life, not everyone can be the best.
Josh Wanner is the father of three girls. He and His wife, Kari, live in Springfield, MO where he works as the Technology Director for Redeemer Lutheran Church and Springfield Lutheran School. He can be reached for question or comment at email@example.com