I am always amazed having conversations with parents about their children and sports. Typical conversations include what team their child plays on (a club team, Nordic, Far Post, Mini-metro, AAU, etc.), how many hours they practice a week, how many games they won, and even whether or not their child can play in Vermont because the teams are not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports! I played them growing up, love to watch them, and enjoy talking about them. But my perspective on sports has changes as a result of my two daughters.
My oldest daughter, Kelcie, was exposed to team sports from a young age, but as she matured it became clear that she generally does not like team sports. She has no interest in participating in or even watching team sports. I’ll admit I was a little distraught about this at first, but over the last 4 years I have her watched her blossom into an incredible athlete competing in taekwondo. She works hard both in practice and at home, and she is confident when she competes. It appears to come naturally to her and she loves it.
Then we have Kayla, who was also exposed to sports as a young child. She, on the other hand, loves team sports. She loves to participate in them and watch them. However, she has to work REALLY hard to play sports. She has participated in basketball for four years and can somewhat dribble a ball and shoot, has taken ski lessons for three years and is still trying to learn to ski independently, and for six years of bike riding is still using training wheels. But she has a strong work ethic and is determined to play sports because she loves them!
When my girls are at their practices or events, they are in such positive and electrifying atmospheres. Coaches give praise and high fives to their players, spectators cheer on every athlete, and athletes laugh and support one another. Nobody yells at officials; coaches don’t scream at players; parents make no negative comments about the other team.
My children aren’t going to be getting scholarships to colleges to play sports, nor are 99% of the population. But they are getting things far more valuable. Kelcie is building endurance, work ethic, confidence, and is making long-lasting friendships while participating in taekwondo. Kayla is building muscle strength, coordination, and amazing connections with peers when she plays all her sports. To me, that is far more important than how many points they scored, blocks they stopped, or championships they won.