Whether it is football, baseball, basketball, or soccer, the call of the wild often comes to your kids in the form of sports. As a parent, you may not be particularly inclined toward sports. But there is something visceral, perhaps even evolutionary, about it.
We are naturally competitive. And our culture pushes us to be even more so. We compete for jobs, for possession of rare items, for the affection of a mate. And despite our attempts to make everyone feel like a winner, in many of life’s fiercest and most important competitions, there can only be one winner. Sports is good preparation for that harsh reality.
There are other equally valuable lessons. In addition to learning how to win, we have to also learn how to lose and live to fight another day. Life is not won or lost with a single event. There is always another event, another job, another one and only love of your life. It is not about winning a single contest, but about resiliency.
And when done right, sports builds character. The very nature of sports is to accomplish a goal in the context of rules. It really is about how you play the game. When you cheat, you are no longer playing sports. You are doing something antithetical to sports.
So, when your child breaks the mold and shows an inclination towards the organized rough and tumble, Here is what you can do to make sure they get the most out of it:
Invest in the Gear
There is no “I” in “team.” So the first thing you want to do is invest in making your child a part of the team. You do this by making sure they have all the right safety gear. Everyone on the team has to stay safe and healthy in order to be a valuable contributor to the team.
You also want to make sure they are equipped with all the team uniforms and accessories. So find a good source for their youth baseball socks, youth baseball bats, hats, sweats, headbands, and even backpacks.
You don’t want your kid to be the odd man out. Youth sports leagues are financed by donations from local businesses and organizations. But the primary funds come from parents. When you get the gear for your athletic kids, be sure to pick up extras for the whole family. Nothing shows team spirit and support like wearing the team colors. Whether they win on the field or not, a kid supported by family always feels like a winner.
Take Scheduling Seriously
If you have more than one kid involved in sports, you could have a scheduling nightmare on your hands. If they play for different teams, the only way you can be at both games is if they are playing one another. If they are involved in more than one sport, managing their schedule can become a professional affair.
Fortunately, tracking your kid’s activity schedule has gotten easier with apps designed for the purpose. While these apps still don’t provide the technology for you to be in more than one place at a time, they can help you keep up with their schedule that prevents you from overloading, and making sure there is time for things like family, homework, and downtime. There will always be some unavoidable conflicts. But you can minimize them by taking your kids’ sports schedules as seriously as your own.
Make Sure They Have Another Passion
If your kid wants to be a professional athlete and if they have the potential, encourage them. And help them get as far as they can. Someone is going to join the ranks of professional athletes. Your kid just may as well be one of them. But even if they make it, professional careers are usually pretty short. Baseball boasts the longest careers. And on average, they are less than 6 years.
The greater reality is only a small percentage of amateur athlete ever make it to the pros. So the best support you can offer your sports-inclined kids is to be sure they have another passion they simultaneously pursue. Be sure they are scholar/athletes. Make sure they have great athletic memories when they are the CEO of their own company.
Happy and successful sports kids are those with family support, the right equipment, managed schedules, and a secondary skill.