On the one side, some parents will say that if a child signs up for a sport, he or she should be 100% committed to all that is required of the sport. Attend every practice. Attend every game. Buy all of the equipment, mandatory and optional. Ingrain in the child a full appreciation for what it takes to not only be committed to the sport but also to respect the coach’s time and the other players’ time. Bring your all to the field or court or the sports arena. These same parents might feel that attending everything will give their kids an edge when it comes to success and achievement in the sport, practice makes perfect. And they may be somewhat right because practice and play does help with perfecting the sport.
On the complete opposite side, some parents will say that the child should decide each night or weekend if he or she wants to go to the practice or the game. The child can instead choose something else that day, equally enticing. Like playing with a friend. Or going somewhere with a sibling. Or even staying home and watching tv or playing on the Kindle Fire. These same parents will say that the child will be happier when he or she has the ability to choose what he or she wants to do. These parents sign up their children with the intent that they will like the sport, will want to play, will ask to go to practices and games, and will make friendships on the field. These parents also have big hopes for the success of their kids, and want them to achieve great things, that hopefully will define their kids in the future. There is less concern over coaches, or teammates, or how the absence of this kid may impact the overall experience for all of the kids who do attend, however there is usually always respect for all involved (or let's hope).
I tend to take a somewhat middle ground approach here. I do believe that time is valuable and should be respected for all who volunteer at youth sports. And I do believe that children benefit when they are at practices and games, even if they sometimes think they don’t want to be there that particular day just because something else might be going on. However, as a mother of four kids, and a parent who is trying to juggle sports schedules with my husband, and all other things we have to manage in our already insane lives, I know there are times when it is just not possible to get everyone where they need to go every day. And, for those times, I have learned that the world won’t end if my child is not there. The game will go on. The team will persevere. The coaches will understand. Like when one kid is sick and I can’t get the other kid to practice, as happened tonight. Sports are important, but sometimes we need to take a deep breath, call a time out, and wait for the next opportunity to participate. There is always a next time to be there, on time, with your child ready to play!
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