Kindred: It pays to be in game(s), moms and dads
By Randy Kindred | email@example.com pantagraph.com | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:00 am | (7) Comments
You see athletes large, small and in between. Some are gifted and know it, so they coast. Others are not and know it, so they work like crazy. A select few are gifted and work like crazy.
There is a place for all of them in youth, junior high and high school sports.
There also is a place for their parents … so many places. You find them behind the wheel, in dugouts, on benches, in lawn chairs, at concession stands, in hotel lobbies.
They work ahead or work split shifts or work into the wee hours, all in an attempt to be there when the boy or girl they welcomed into the world digs in with the bases loaded or drives to the basket.
Occasionally, they look in the mirror or at the bank statement and wonder, “Is it worth it? Is all of this really worth it?”
Here’s the good news, a tad late for Mother’s Day, but early for Father’s Day.
It is absolutely worth it.
The wins and losses fade. Trophies collect dust in an attic. Stat sheets wind up in a recycle bin.
None of them matter.
You realize it years later. Like the day you wake up and your youngest is graduating from college.
At our house, it is Friday.
You hear her talk about a semester-long project that involved building a city — designing the water system, infrastructure, etc. — and the mind drifts to softball diamonds here and in other cities, other states.
It was a group project requiring strategy, planning, execution and, more than anything, teamwork. Sports introduced her to all of it.
They taught her and her sister that life isn’t always fair. Line drives get caught. Bloopers fall in. Umpires miss calls. Players drop balls.
Deal with it. Learn from it. Move on.
Sports strengthened their resolve, toughened their skin. So when an irate boss openly voices his/her displeasure, they can tell a concerned co-worker: “It’s OK. I’ve had coaches yell at me.”
Doesn’t mean they like it, doesn’t make it right. But they can handle it.
Sports prepare them to manage success and disappointment, deal with adversity. Remember that the next time you drive six hours to a sweltering summer tournament, or shiver under a blanket at a spring doubleheader.
It’s worth it.
Just be sure to occasionally take a breath, take a step back and take a second to enjoy the moment. It doesn’t last much beyond that.
Games turn to seasons and seasons to years, faster than you can say, “Do you have everything in your bat bag?”
Squeeze what you can from the long rides, the overnight stays. You never get those back. Be a shame to waste them listening to an iPod or dwelling on a loss.
Encourage them to succeed but allow them to fail. They learn from both.
Be there either way. It’s all they will remember.
Experience the journey with them, not through them. You had your time. This is theirs, no matter how many hours you contribute.
Keep in mind, the key is not whether they make or miss the winning shot, but accept responsibility for taking it. If they can do that, they won’t shy away from much at work, in school, in life.
Hold them accountable beyond the court/field. Remind them playing sports is like any privilege. It can be taken away.
Finally, continue to give them love and support, win or lose. Stay in the game.
It’s worth it.
-- Randy Kindred is at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Kindred Blog: www.pantagraph.com/blogs
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