Discover more from The Physical Movement: Play. Lead. Be Strong.
Edition #216 : Will Our Kids Enjoy Youth Sport Enough To Want To Play When They Are Older?
Keeping our eyes on the prize : fun and development during the formative years can lead to lifetime of activity
Here we are first weekend of August already. Just around the corner, we start talking about back to school here in Canada. In many parts of the USA, they have started back. Where did the summer go?
I am launching this week’s edition on the road in between my son’s baseball games. Another weekend away watching ball. I love baseball. I love watching my son play. So I am blessed to be able to do so as he is no longer in youth sport. I must admit, I thought those days would be over a few years ago. Something funny happened, something I had kind of hoped for, something I think most parents want for their kids. I am convinced that most parents want their kids to find something they enjoy, something they love that they can do for a while.
My kid has fallen in love with baseball. He is 22 years old now and entering his last year of college, and is playing this summer with grown men. He has had lots of ups and downs with baseball, some great moments and made some good friends and he has had some tough times. But he has persevered.
This summer is his first summer outside of the 22 and under minor baseball loop, he has entered the world of adult competitive baseball playing in a Southwestern Ontario Senior League. He found the team, made the connection with the coach, attended winter training and has had a fabulous summer playing with and against current and former college players, family men and some as old at 40. All of them pay to play. Not a lot, but they cover their expenses. This is not professional, but it is competitive and high caliber.
In senior baseball or hockey, they play because they love it.
Jamie loves the camaraderie around the team, the process of preparation and the fact that his outlet for competitive baseball is not over, and won’t be for some time (as long as he likes it).
I share this with you because ultimately that is what it is all about is it not?
Whether it be in the sporting world, or some other hobby, something our kids are passionate about. It means that somewhere along the way, something has gone right.
This senior baseball loop is quite something I must say. Now having watched lots of games, I can say not only is the caliber very impressive is that everyone is there because they chose to be. Many have families and all the responsibilities of grown up life, yet are travelling the region 2-3 times a week for 12-15 weeks to play. At home games, all players and coaches pitch in on field care. Many games this summer have required landscaping work to get the field playable after rain.
Choosing the opportunity to play.
I have said for years to anyone who will listen to “play as long as you can”. To embrace the privilege of being well enough to be able to play, to care for our bodies and mind so we can continue to play and enjoy the journey.
Playing at the adult level is not about the notoriety, or the publicity, the money or anything else other than the opportunity to lace up the cleats another time, compete and surround yourself with others of like mind in doing the same. They play on older fields with lots of imperfections and change in parking lots. They drive themselves or carpool to games. They supply their own basic equipment.
The Physical Movement (TPM) has put together a few articles over the last 215 editions on making sure that our eye stays on the prize as coaches and parents.
The prize being fun, friendship, the value of working towards a common goal and the challenge of testing yourself.
I am reminded of the saying that we don’t stop playing because we get older, we get older because we stop playing.
In racing our kids around to their sport commitments, here are a few questions on the parental checklist.
Are they playing because they want to , or because you want to ?
Are they having fun? (smiling, laughing, joking with others)
Do they talk about looking forward to the next event?
In this world of racing to the next thing, accommodating and supporting our kids activities takes on a different dimension if they are enjoying it as opposed to stressed about performance and commitments.
Here are a few of the articles from TPM on the topic and let’s keep that in mind when our kids are younger.
Here are some deeper dives on how to make sure we keep our eye on the prize, while I have the privilege of going to watch the next game.
Enjoy your week!