Lessons from sports

I write this at the end of a typical Saturday in my household; one which involves lots of driving for mom and dad as we get each of our kids to their various sports. Son #1 had riding this morning which is something he has been doing since he was not quite 3 years old. For him this activity is both physical therapy and competitive as he is now a nationally ranked para equestrian. Daughter had ringette this evening, a sport she wanted to try because it looked fun. Now in her third year, she loves the games, the friendships, and the fun. Son #2 finished the day with hockey, a sport about which he is passionate. Between all the driving, there was the normal business of weekend life to attend to. My wife and I saw each other briefly throughout the day during which time we shared some smiles and joked about the old days when my parents called is the 2 o’clock kids (clearly those days are long gone). At the end of this very busy day, however, I find myself pondering why we have our kids in sports and why we spend our time as chauffeurs. The reality is that we want our kids to love healthy and active lives. We want out kids to try new things which will help them develop skills and confidence. We want them to have fun. My daughter was not bothered by the loss (she’s the team goalie and only asks about how many shots she stopped). Son #2, however, was bothered by tonight’s loss (it hasn’t been a great season so far). Sure we had a chat about the team needing to work together and that it was just one game, but what I think really resonated for him was remembering he did have fun from the moment the game started to the moment it ended. That is what I want him to take way from tonight; not the frustration of losing, but the enjoyment of playing.

My oldest son rarely complains about the challenges he faces. He always has a positive disposition when on the horse or trying new sports like wheelchair tennis. At the end of a long day, we all need to think about what really matters. While I have never been a great athlete, I have coached as man teams as possible that my kids are involved with because my wife and I believe it is important for the kids to see us involved with things they care about. I can’t help but hope that through my involvement and support I remind our kids that trying as hard as you possibly can and enjoying the experience means more than the final score.

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