There is a lot to be said for passionate sports parents. There’s the dedication and commitment factor, the tailgate etiquette, that time spent in the car, the amount of money to put the gas in the car, registration fees, and equipment malfunctions to just name a few examples. The only thing for sure is that your child loves it. Or do they?
Jordyn, my eight-year-old daughter, has been playing lacrosse since she was three. Later she picked up basketball and soccer. Up until she was seven, she complained and whined (ugh, that was only a few months ago). The first year was intolerable, but we pushed through. The second year of lacrosse, she was able to be on the floor and not stare at me the ENTIRE time. It did get easier, and then we put her in other sports. After the cast on her arm comes off, she’ll be starting boxing. Because she wants to.
The point being is that I see so many parents at Jordyn’s age group that are still forcing their child to play a sport. I was always a four-sport athlete as long as I could remember (basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and softball), if my kid wasn’t an athlete I don’t know what I would do in all honesty. But I would find an outlet for her: music, visual arts, or academics. I always joke to other parents that Jordyn has to play lacrosse because I’m not paying for college (yeah, the ol’ recruiting/full scholarship joke). I want her to be the best she can be in any avenue, athletic or academic.
Parents need to understand that not every child wants to pay contact sports. Not every child will excel in an activity that requires vigorous amounts of activity. I know several that have accepted that their children are not athletes – and I applaud you. It’s rough to watch a parent scream at their crying child from the sidelines when their child clearly does not want to be a participant.
Am I blessed to have a daughter with my genes and drive? Certainly. Is she a flash card flipper? Yes she is. Is she a runner? Most certainly not, but these are things we work on, not scream over.
Jordyn in net for the Akwesasne Attack Girls Lacrosse Team
Being a parent of an athlete is hard. But let’s make sure we’re focused on the larger picture. Let’s recognize athletics as a means to an end and not the only way to pay for college. It’s a tool that, if used properly, helps children develop into tenacious collaborators