When I coached recreation soccer kids ages 13 (and volunteered when I was a wife but not yet a mom), I couldn’t understand why some parents would tell me their kids couldn’t go to the game or practice because they had a pool party to attend, or a playdate, or even that they just wanted to take a break. But, now, as a parent of four young children all under the age of eight, I know why we cannot attend every practice and every game and every race. It’s not realistic or even recommended. It is not just a physical break, but also mental and emotional. When we are on, we are on. When the kids are excited to play, happy, healthy, interested in the sports, we go. We are 110% in. But when there is hesitation, like when hockey lasts from Sept-March and its three days a week, it becomes their choice. We play lots of sports in our family. And we would never not sign up for a sport even if we knew we couldn’t make it to all of the scheduled events. We do try to attend at least 2 out of 3 scheduled events per sport per week, say, or 7 of the 8 weeks of the season, and often get to more.
But at this age it’s about having fun, enjoying the game, committing to what we can commit to, and not worrying about what we miss. I communicate to the coaches when possible, and I don’t get angry if my child is missing a skill (he or she will get it eventually, and may even be considered one of the best in the sport someday, or maybe not, but either is ok). Missing practices and games is not ideal, but it should also not be frowned upon. Just like missing church every now and then when we attend weekly. It’s ok. As my kids get older, the percentage of time we attend gets higher, though sometimes overlapping seasons get in the way of one another, and then a choice has to be made…this one today or that one, but not both. As I said, it’s ok. My kids are achieving. Gaining skills. Learning discipline and commitment. They are also learning that choices are important and happiness is critical, and sports can bring such good things into our lives. But free play and rest days are also good for us to regain that excitement and passion to be out on the field. So, next time another parent looks at you strange or asks you why your kid was not at the last game or practice, just smile and tell them that your kid loves to play sports, even when they miss a day or two.
Visit us at www.besporthappy.com for more info on the 35 sports available for kids in Saratoga ages 3-13. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/besporthappy or join our Be Sport Happy Saratoga Equipment Exchange group on Facebook and exchange used sports equipment with other Saratoga families: www.facebook.com/groups/besporthappy. Also find us at www.healtheconcessions.com and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healtheconcessions.