sports and balance

by humanmama on September 24, 2013

Carpenter and I are not into sports, really, at all. I like baseball, and he will watch a football game (you HAVE TO if you’re from Pittsburgh. It’s the law, I think), but neither of us have a die-hard-ESPN-sportcenter-I-just-can’t-miss-this-game mentality for any sport. We were talking about it a little the other day, because our kids are 7 and 4 and 1, and it seems that only the 1-year-old shouldn’t be involved in a sport, yet. Practically everyone we know has their kids in some sport, class, or program.

Is it like that where you are? Is it like this everywhere?

I think we already missed the train for pro sports. Maybe not for Benji, at 14 months he still seems to have a few months left to find his passion and begin the lifelong (read: 15 years) process of honing that passion into a fiercely competitive sport. And he should be the best; even if he doesn’t want to go pro, he should at least have that option. I think I need to see if they make golf clubs for 14-month-olds. Or maybe a tennis racket: Benji Agassi?

It’s okay that kids are so involved, I think. I know a lot of parents, and I think all their kids are getting the requisite amount of school time in. They all seem to be well-adjusted (really! They do!), and they seem to have social skills. Are we raising a generation of kids that are just better than us at everything??! Maybe we are. And perhaps that’s a good thing. Excellent at school. Excellent at sports. Who will be homecoming queen? They all will: a generation of gorgeous, smart, good-at-everything kids.

So the challenge lies with my kids challenges, then. Not if they’re amazing at things, but if they’re not. It seems like there was a time that you just took for granted that Larry was a really tall guy and therefore played basketball better than you. Maybe you were better at Atari, or whittling, or reading, or chess. But now, even as a kid, you should spend all your time and energy on the court, making up for the failure of your genetics. Oh, and also? You should be excellent at reading, and chess. And whittling.

I feel this, maybe, a little more than my kids do. But I still witness them feeling it: my 7-year-old almost has a “well, I’ve given up: I’m good at nothing” attitude because she hated soccer at age four. And maybe that’s partly my fault: with all these kids being so involved, I haven’t pushed our kids to be. I figure they’ll tell me when they’re interested in something. But maybe that’s wrong, in a way. Maybe the key is getting them involved enough to know what they want to do, and then letting them thrive in whatever that may be. ($$$Cha-CHING! say all the cash registers at all the sporting-goods stores, everywhere).110

But I think there’s another part, and I think that part is knowing when to just let them run around, or be by themselves, and just be kids. Finding the balance, I guess, is the real challenge.

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