When you hear people talk about professional athletes what is the first thing to come to mind? If you’re a sports fan like me then you immediately think talent. If you’re not a sports fan you may think they’re just adults making a ridiculous amount of money to play a game. And we’d both be right! Honestly, when I hear the petty arguments they get into about contracts and what not, I would tend to agree with you. But I also see them from a new perspective – I’m now the mother with a budding athlete.
Rewind 6 years, and I see my son playing baseball in the yard with his dad, grandpa and uncle. They are having so much fun reveling in his newfound love of all things ball-related!
Fast forward 6 years, and we are in the thick of competitive sports. Everything is a competition, including racing to the front door from the car. This competitiveness has made me think about sports and the people who play them. My son is becoming a better person just by playing sports.
He is learning sportsmanship (in life terms he is learning compassion and understanding) through not winning every game. When you play a team sport and don’t win you aren’t always to blame. A teammate may kick the ball in the opponent’s goal and you lose. As a good sport you must forgive your teammate for their transgression (as they do yours) and go on to play the next game. This is true for life. A co-worker may shaft you on a group project, but you will have to work together again. Life goes on.
He is learning diplomacy. He may know what needs to be done by another teammate and have to give instruction. He is learning how to maneuver those situations and not come across as a jerk. Not always, but sometimes.
He is learning to stand up for himself. There are times on the field that he needs to become more aggressive. Yes, this is a physical attribute and yes, I realize that you can’t do this in the real world. BUT I think it’s an important life lesson to learn young and as you get older adapt it to fit your needs.
He is learning to have conversations with adults. I am not a helicopter parent and will not swoop in to fix his problems. I will help him come up with a solution (and guide him in that direction), and if he wants to use my suggestions then so be it. He was recently in a situation where he was unhappy – after digging deeper, I understood the problem. After I had a
therapy session conversation with a fellow soccer mom she suggested he talk to the coach about it. I sat him down, went over some things he could say (and how to say them) and how he could react when greeted with criticism then told him it was his move. While this conversation is still up in the air, he now has some additional tools under his belt to help him in the future.
These are just a few of the life lessons kids learn while playing sports, and with good parents behind them they can use these skills to move them forward into adulthood!