And I don’t mean baseball! No sir, my kids’ sport of choice is flag football! Both my 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter love the thrill of throwing and catching that ball, or running to pull the flags. My son is a very good football player; there is actually no sport he cannot play well. For him, the excitement of getting the touchdown or interception, or sometimes and interception returned for a touchdown is so much that he dreams about it for days afterward! Seeing the look on his face during his practices and games makes my heart melt. He is so happy, which makes Mommy happy as well.
My daughter is not such a natural. She struggles with most sports. She is physically inclined, but not so great at the team part. Still, she is determined to play. It is this determination that keeps her physically healthy and will take her far in life. She hasn’t let a bum knee or wrist stop her from playing, even if it means she often just stands in one place to block the other team. This is actually a very strategic move in flag football, so it is truly an important job. I love to watch her play because she, too, is happy to be playing with other kids. She doesn’t often do this outside of sports, so I know it is good for her.
Another great thing about any team sport is the life lessons my children learn as they play. For instance, the idea that either the whole team wins or the whole team loses was foreign to both my kids before I had sports to demonstrate. Learning that “taking one for the team” is more important than showboating is another biggie. They have also learned some compassion as they see children on their team struggling. I was very proud when my son, without prompting, paired up with a kid who was overweight, uncoordinated, and had never played a game in his life. When I told him I noticed, he said that he say no one else was going his way, and he didn’t want him to feel left out, so he picked him. My son can be very competitive, so this was a proud mom moment.
Unfortunately, playing sports sometimes comes with hard life lessons, as well. Specifically, that it is more important to play with integrity than to win. There is always one team whose coach uses cheating to get ahead. It makes my son so angry, and I often find myself having to hold back my tears. My heart breaks for him because it isn’t fair. I know life is full of tough lessons, but watching him learn them through no fault of his own simply sucks!
I’ll say it again – parenting is really hard! Staying on top of school work, field trips, lunches, chores at home, sports practices, games, scouts, camping trips, and even just their ever-changing personalities keeps my busy, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. Watching my children benefit from their participation in sports because they want to, not because it’s my dream, makes it worth the hassle. Whether they bring home the trophy or not, I am always proud of them for the lessons they’ve learned and how they apply those lessons to other areas of their lives like at home or in school.