Updated: Feb 21
from The Tao of Pappy
No book like this would be complete without some commentary about organized sports. This one will not be an exception, so here goes.
Let me start with a personal example. I refer to this as "The Texas Swim Team Torture." Swim team practice happened daily and started around 7 AM, as I recall. This was when my son's new bicycle was stolen because he forgot to lock it because he was running late to practice but that is an entirely different story so never mind.
Swim meets were on Saturdays at various community pools, all outdoors. This is Houston, TX, and it gets hot and humid daily. The weather forecast was always the same, "hot and humid, with a chance of rain." Spectators sat in bleachers under the hot sun for several hours to observe all the events. Your kid would swim for a few minutes, but leaving before the entire meet was over was considered poor etiquette. So, we would endure a tortuous few hours of sun and sweltering heat, with sore butts and backs, complete with a sunburn to nurse until next Saturday's event, looking forward to those Olympic medals in our future.
As a parent and grandparent, I have experienced soccer, lacrosse, t-ball, baseball, football, and swimming. Not to mention diving, dancing, and gymnastics. Getting involved with youth sports is a rite of passage for parents, and kids playing sports gives many benefits, even though 70% will quit by age 13.
Here is the uncomfortable truth. Organized sports wreak havoc on your life. People who could just be hanging out and enjoying a weekend are instead stressed out and overscheduled. If your job caused your life to be like this, you would quit.
When your child begins their sports journey, you will watch them chase butterflies or kick ant mounds as they ignore the commands of volunteer coaches (bless their hearts.) Do not fool yourself. They are not playing a sport. These are things they can do in their backyard.
For the sake of argument, let us assume that they develop some basic skills. We all know that most professional athletes start very young, so if you are fortunate to have a gifted athlete, you will get to spend the next ten years driving them to games, practices, and weekend tournaments. By the way, these are always several towns away and start at 6 AM.
You will also get to spend much of your hard-earned cash on uniforms, equipment, registration fees, and fundraisers. There will also be required participation in the concession stand duty. Remember, nothing says dedication like sitting in hot bleachers under a scorching sun for four hours on a Saturday to watch your kids swim for sixty seconds or two minutes.
If you are a "sports parent," please do not get yourself worked up, mad, and offended here. I was once one of you and still am, to some extent, as a grandfather. I am trying to be helpful and possibly free up some weekends; this is all fun, and you are more than welcome.
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