I am a huge fan of sports, particularly football (how much longer till the season starts????). But currently I have to question how kids are brought up with sports.
Why? The little boy crying and pleading with his dad just outside of my apartment on the tennis court. This is a nightly ritual where dad drills his son on the finer points of baseball. They practice catching, batting and the child, no older then five, cries as his father yells to run around the court.
There is a part of me that wants to step out onto my deck and ask the father is it really necessary to beat this into his kid. There are moments when I can tell the kid really likes practicing hitting the ball and other times when his attention span has long since left, preferring to just play.
I was a latchkey kid and my lack of coordination probably also played a role in preferring to watch sports as opposed to playing them but I have to question if the father is really doing his son a favor. The pressure to make kids into sports stars is something I have never been able to get behind.
Is this pressure to become the next hottest thing in baseball, football or even hockey healthy? In another lifetime I used to babysit for extra cash; I was always willing to play games with my charges. Of course I watched a few meltdown when I wouldn’t just let them win. At a young age they were told that winning was the only thing that mattered.
I have watched as children were shuttled from soccer practice to baseball to football to basketball with travel teams thrown in for good measure. Not only is the child over scheduled but the parents seem to have their lives ran by the sports they sign their kids up for and is that a way to live? Constantly on the go with little time for spontaneous fun.
Do not get me wrong, I think it is great to sign a child up for a sport, encourage them, work with them but when it becomes a chore it might be time to reconsider things. I do have some friends that have asked throughout the years if Sammy or Kylie want to play soccer or take tap lessons. For these parents, it is a way to have their child interact with others, have fun and get some exercise.
Childhood is for having fun; learning from others but mostly, it is to take advantage of the one time when not taking something seriously is encouraged. And who wouldn’t want to go back to the days when the hardest decision was which crayon to use?