Today's topic is completely wide open. I was giving it some thought as to what I was going to write about and came up with kids in sports. It's a topic that is NEAR and DEAR to my heart! The crazy ups and downs that come with sports, the nutty parents (me), and the lessons learned are all a part of our life. It seems like a natural topic for me to start with today.
A little background:
We have two sons. Evan is 12 and in 7th grade, and Hudson is 9 and in 4th grade. Both are very athletic. They both started playing sports at a very early age. I think Evan was playing outdoor soccer at four, and I'm pretty sure we had Hudson playing indoor soccer at age 3. Both kids played soccer for their school teams, played competitive travel soccer, ran track, played flag football for school, basketball for school, and they are now getting into competitive basketball.
I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be a soccer mom. I never played soccer, didn't understand soccer, and certainly didn't think I'd be screaming my head off on the sideline hoping and praying for a goal!
Evan the soccer stud.
We truly didn't know what we were getting into back when Evan was in 2nd grade. I can clearly remember being at his little school soccer game and contemplating "looking into competitive soccer" after the school season was over. Evan's best friend was already a part of a travel team. We asked the friend's dad about it that day, and he basically encouraged/pressured/suggested/cajoled us into going out to the competitive soccer game the very next day! We went, not sure if the team was looking for more players (they were), not knowing if Evan was good enough (he was), and not sure of what was expected (we learned quickly)!
It has literally been a whirlwind since that day over five years ago. Evan quickly became a strong defender and we had some of the best times traveling up and down California with our team going to games and weekend tournaments. Hotel stays with the other parents were a blast!
Winning a State Cup Title was a blast!
My husband quickly jumped in with both feet becoming the manager for the team, organizing events, helping with fundraisers, and being at every practice rain or shine. If Eric was involved 110%, I was making it to 95% of the practices and events. It took over our lives. And then Hudson got involved as well. Two kids with two practices each week each lasting two hours and countless hours on the weekend. An hour game come with an hour warm-up, half time, and after game meeting. It was a minimum three-hour committment for games...and that was when we were in town.
After five years, I was EXHAUSTED! And I didn't even know it. This sporting lifestyle was also on top of participating in regular school sport teams, volunteer work, full time jobs, church, and trying to have some sort of down time every now and then. A funny thing about soccer (in my opinion), is there isn't really a season. It just keeps going, and going, and going. We never really had a break. In five years.
There were many parts about their time in soccer that I loved. Watching games is fun, hotel stays, winning state championships, watching my kids grow athletically, watching my kids make amazing friends.
These two have inseperable since they were five. Evan is the blondie.
There were many parts about their time in soccer that I hated. The time committment was endless. The extreme weather of dealing with an outdoor sport. I am not so much of an outdoor girl. I burn in the summer and freeze in the winter. The cost. This stuff is NOT cheap! That's another reason my husband got so involved...it helped to defray some of our costs.
Watching a State Cup Championship in a rain storm. Good times.
About a year ago, there were some changes in the soccer rules and regulations that changed the age brackets for the kids. It changed the structure of the team and things just weren't the same. Evan came to us this past summer and said he wanted to take a break. So we did. And it was GLORIOUS! I didn't realize how run down and ragged I had become until the child helped us all to stop! He needed a break, we needed a break. He said he wanted to focus on basketball. So we are. And I love it.
We put both boys into a summer basketball and a fall basketball camp. Very little committment and they both had a lot of fun. We are now nearing the end of the school basketball season and will put them in a spring camp before starting competitive leagues.
You may be wondering why? I just got done moaning about the competitive soccer, so why would I start this all over again for basketball? Plain and simple, because the boys like it and they want to participate.
Hudson is playing for his school team.
Get it, Huddy!
Hudson earned the Sportsmanship ribbon that week!
I'm a firm believer in the value of sports. I think the lessons that kids learn from working together as a team, winning and losing, dedication to practice, working to get better...it all makes kids more well rounded. Physical activity is especially important. We have noticed a HUGE difference in Evan's attitude when he gets physical activity. He's a whole different kid. Pleasant, funny, and easy to be around. When he sits around all day, watch out! He's cranky, listless, and nasty.
Is the money, time, and energy worth it? Will these kids move past high school level sports? Yes, it is worth it for the reasons I just mentioned. Will they make it past high school? I can't answer that. However, I always say, someone's kid has to. Will it be mine? I don't know. But if playing college or professional sports is a dream of either of my boy's, then I'd like to do anything I can to help them get there.
For any of you out there with littles just about to get into sports, I'd say a very important thing to do is listen to your child. We listened when Evan said that he wanted to take a break. However, it was a break. He did not quit in the middle of a season. He knew he'd be going back to a sport in the fall whether that was soccer or something else. And he knew we valued his opinion on what he wanted to do. I think those lessons were important for all of us.
Evan is #15 in white.
I love it when I catch him smiling while playing. That is what it's about! Having a good time doing something you love.
Two years in a row going to the Championship Game! Second place winners!