Our oldest (turned 14 this summer) has been involved in sports since she was 9. Why? Because all the experts out there tell us that if kids are involved in sports they become a more well-rounded individual. We wanted her to have an experience where she had to work with a team and not just for herself. However, she doesn’t really have that competitive spirit. She likes to win, but is not driven to do so. She likes making friends and socializing more.
We gave her some options for a sport she could try and she landed on soccer. I personally hate soccer and always have. I tried to steer her towards softball (I played at her age) or volleyball (I played in school), but no. Soccer was what she wanted to try.
Ok, so soccer. What the heck are the rules for soccer? Something about kicking the ball and not ever using your hands. I never understood this, like I think it was just a way to make kicking the ball around harder if one could not just bend over and pick it up. Then there’s all these rules about who goes where and does stuff. That was my experience. My husband’s was similar, so we were jumping in together.
The time costs:
The time involved in carting her to practices, games, meets, etc. is daunting. I don’t know how some families do it. I tip my hat to the single moms and dads, the working families and all those that have so little time, but find time to do these things for their kids.
What I do know is that it takes a toll. I’m tired of the practices and going to and from to get her. I’m tired of all the games. My car is tired of all these things too! Time is magnified in our family because of having two littles under the age of 3. We have to work around nap schedules, bedtimes and meals. There’s so much to manage our time, it’s become insane.
The saying “time is money” may be true, but “time is sanity” I think works better in my family. Sports is a big part of that whole time thing.
The actual costs:
So there are actual costs to this stuff. Yeah, I know, it’s like we can’t just let our kids play an organized sport for free and stuff. There’s usually a sign-up fee, then families have to purchase a ball, cleats, shin guards, socks and shorts. Sometimes, team shirts are included in the sign-up fee, how nice. With her growing body, each season she participates is costly. I know for other sports, this cost can be even higher!
She also became interested in swimming last year. You would think a swimsuit, cap and goggles would be all she needs. NOPE! These items must be team suits and caps. Then there’s the pool fee and the fees to participate in the meets. Even with this being offered through the school, it still costs a pretty penny.
I’m truly grateful we can provide this to our daughter. She has gained so much life experience. I remember around her second or third season of soccer, she was just goofing off most of the season. So much so that the other girls didn’t want to play with her anymore because she wasn’t trying when she played. This really got to her. She realized that it wasn’t all about being a goof and joking with her friends, there was real work that was involved.
This brings me to my next point…
The REAL costs:
Aside from all the time costs and the dollar costs, there’s something more that we’ve noticed with her. She’s learning about responsibility, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship. She’s learning that it’s not all about her. The cost for her is that she has to give up her teen (and pre-teen) selfishness to work with the team. The cost for her is that she has to accept that she’ll make mistakes and the team may be mad at her, but it will eventually be okay. The cost for her is that she has to step outside her comfort zone and leads and guides many of the newer kids. The cost for us… sitting back and watching our little girl grow in to a well-rounded young lady.
And that is what she is growing in to with grace and dignity. Sure she has her teen moments: her angst, her eye-rolls, her pffs at our comments. But she also understands the importance of working towards a goal, failing and not giving up, and working with individuals to reach a common goal, even if they annoy her.
Think about it: this is exactly what us adults do every day. We have to work with people we don’t like and have no say in whether they stay or go. We all have to work for a common goal. And most importantly, we have times we make mistakes or just completely screw up, but we don’t give up and we learn. We have a team to back us up and know that this is just a moment in time.
So, bring on the new soccer cleats, balls, shin guards, socks and shorts. Bring on the new team swimsuits and caps. Bring on all the start-up fees. Bring on the trotting all over creation to get her where she needs to be. And bring on the early mornings and late nights. Because at the end of all this, she’s going to be how the experts say “well-rounded” and successful in this thing called life!
Isn’t that where we all would like to be?