Is it me?

I’m wondering about sports obsessions, particularly lacrosse, in my town.  My son plays soccer, swims on the summer swim team, took karate for 3 years and is now beginning lacrosse.  He isn’t super sports kid and isn’t particularly large or brawny.  He’s just like Larry and will eventually be a gorgeous, super masculine man like his dad.  Anyhoo, Laurence took a lacrosse clinic this summer and started another program last night.  I just want him to have fun and maybe find something new that he likes.  I don’t have any illusions that he will be the High School Star or get a scholarship.  My motto is aim for happy and average.  Everything else is gravy.  But sitting in the arena watching him play and helping my daughter finish her homework, I can’t help but overhear other parents talking.  It’s as if nothing else exists.  They know every team from every town, they’re analyzing every kid on the turf as to his ability (I’m assuming it’s an effort to figure out who might try to steal their kids scholarship) and discussing this with the intensity I’ve rarely heard in a discussion about who will be the next President of the United States.  One of my son’s best friends Dad was there and he barely said hello to us.  He was soooo intent on watching.  It was like his life and breath depended on it.  I just find this weird.  Then I ran into another mom I know.  She begins telling me how her son just started playing last year and they wish they had started him sooner.  The ONLY conclusion I can come to is that he is not doing that well.  Is there any other?  Well, apparently, yes there is.  When I say to her, “Oh, I’m sure he’ll catch up”, she quickly cuts me off and says, “Oh, no!  He’s one of the better players, that’s why we wish we had started him sooner.”  Again, I think this is totally weird.  The kid is 10.  Are you really giving this kid’s lacrosse career that much thought right now?  Does it really matter?  I guess it does if you want him to get a scholarship or go pro.  Is there another reason?  If there is, I’m not aware of it.  Now don’t get me wrong – EVERY parent dreams of their child getting a scholarship.  Who in their right mind dreams about paying for college?  But seriously, let’s jump back onto the page of reality called “life”.

These events lead me to some self examination.  Should I be more intense about  my son’s sports?  Should I place more importance on it?  I think academics, maturity and friendship are more important.  Do sports have a place?  Absolutely.  They’re a great tool in maturing, forming relationships, being able to be part of a team, etc.  But in my mind, in the end, my son will leave high school, I will pay for college and he will end up sitting behind a desk somewhere providing for his family, to whom he is a wonderful, loving husband and devoted father.  So I ask, is it me?

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4 Responses to “Is it me?”

  1. Moderation in all things. I’ve always taken the position that if my kids like something and demonstrate some aptitude, then they should be encouraged. Even so, with sports, we’ve never let them interfere with the rest of our lives. I’ve seen too many parents drag their kids around the midwest for select team tournaments, all in the hopes that the kid will get a scholarship, while foregoing family vacations and the like and wind up disappointed. (One of my daughter’s roommates fits that bill.)

    My advice: Have fun, learn the rules and follow your son’s lead. But don’t let sports destroy everything else.

    Cheers.

  2. Sound advice. Thanks Randall. I think we’re on the right track. Sometimes it just helps to hear someone else say so.

  3. I saw a good bit of this last summer when my son was trying to play in an U8 soccer league (he was waaaay too young for it). It was clearly apparent that many of the parents are already spending the millions of dollars their little super star is gonna make them. And it made me really sad for these kids who are being pushed really, really hard at such a young age.

    All I wanted was for Grady to have fun, when he stopped enjoying it at all, we stopped going because I’m not going to force him to play if he’s not into it.

  4. Hi Barbie:
    Me again! I am so enjoying your blog! Hey these parents are making everything about THEM right? What a shame, keep listening and smiling and listening and smiling.
    Love
    Kristen

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