Should your child play sports? Despite the financial strain, challenges, hard work, sacrifices and frequent injuries, it is crucial that they do. Read on to know four reasons why your kids should play sports.
As any parent of young athletes knows, having your children participate in sports can be a real hassle. There’s getting them to and from practice and games, making sure they have the necessary equipment, ensuring they still make school a priority, and, for many parents, writing the checks to keep your kids in the game can be really unpleasant.
Our two daughters are alpine ski racers on the Sugar Bowl Ski Team in Northern California and having to train and compete hours from our home near San Francisco adds another level of complexity. But whatever sport your children play, the challenges remain mostly the same, whether your kids are soccer players, golfers, gymnasts, or what have you.
I admit that I can be a bit of a taskmaster with my girls on those mornings when they’re dragging their feet. I will also admit that this ‘forced’ approach is a source of some irritation for my wife who believes (as I do to a lesser degree) that kids need downtime to rest and recovery from their busy days filled with school and other extracurricular activities.
My wife and I are also generally in agreement on not pressuring our children to do anything beyond their school and home responsibilities. We believe in allowing them to find and follow their own passions and interests (even if our girls have few at this point in their lives).
At the same time, given that I was an internationally ranked ski racer “back in the day” and have a tremendous passion for skiing, I must also admit that I want our daughters to grow up to be good skiers and I want us to share the life of a skiing (and perhaps ski racing) family.
I began to ponder more deeply what I wanted our girls to get out of their sports experience and I realized that, though I do want them to become good skiers, there were far more important things I wanted them to gain from it that they can’t readily get in other parts of their lives. In my musings, I came up with…
Four Reasons Why Your Kids Should Play Sports
The ability to commit to something is fundamental to success in every aspect of life, whether sports, school, career, or relationships. For our girls, getting up and out on weekend mornings when we’re at Sugar Bowl teaches that commitment to our girls. Additionally, the commitment isn’t just theirs, but rather it’s a family commitment as well. Sarah and I have made a substantial commitment of time, money, and energy to our skiing life based on our girls’ desires to be a part of the Sugar Bowl ski team.
We make the commitment to pay the bills, take care of our girls’ gear, and get them where they need to go, whether training or races. Their commitment involves working hard, paying attention to their coaches, being good sports, and, importantly, expressing gratitude toward everyone who makes this experience possible.
Could this lesson of commitment be taught outside of sports? To some degree, yes. A significant commitment is necessary for participation in other achievement activities (e.g., dance, music, chess). But the level of commitment required for sports seems to be higher because of the costs, the travel, and the amount of time spent on the field, court, course, or hill.
My daughters, like most children in our demographic (i.e., educated, reasonably affluent), have a pretty easy life. Compared to generations past, they have few demands placed on them. Few children these days have to wake up at the crack of dawn to feed the chickens and milk the cows.
Even fewer have to walk to and from school 10 miles uphill (in both directions) in a snowstorm! And Mill Valley certainly doesn’t qualify as the “mean streets” where our girls are going to learn some toughness.