Reasons I Loathe Kids’ Sports, Plus a Few Reasons I Like ‘Em

My kids are now at that age where I have to start getting them involved in sports crap.  When he was 4, we tried soccer with Alister, and it was A DISASTER.

The kid couldn’t run.  He couldn’t kick.  He couldn’t even follow the team en masse around the field.  Instead, he lagged behind, picking his butt and looking at the sky absentmindedly.  It was clear we had dropped the ball with him (no pun intended).  Though he was only 4, his teammates had been involved since age 3, and it showed.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We also got both Alister and Ewing involved in swimming, but apparently we were about 18 months behind on that one, too.  They were enrolled in the beginner class with 6-month-olds who surprisingly and embarrassingly outperformed both boys.

This year, we’ve got them signed up for all the things: t-ball, soccer, swimming, safety camp.  And while part of us is excited to share in these fun times with our kids, another part of us hates the mere thought of it.

Here are some reasons I loathe kids’ sports (and a few reasons I like them):

Reasons I Loathe Kids’ Sports

1. We have to do stuff and crap like sign up to bring snacks to hour long t-ball games. 

This one might annoy me more than anything else.  Not only are these kids apparently incapable of lasting an hour without food, but they also have allergies we have to consider.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not opposed to accommodating anyone’s allergies, BUTFORCHRISTSAKE, why can’t we all just bring individual snacks for our own kids?  Better yet, why can’t we just feed them before or after the games?  That way everybody gets something that won’t kill them and nobody has to worry about whipping something up for 8 kids whose tastes and parent-approved choices they know nothing about.

(Everyone’s getting chocolate chunk brownies made with Crisco and bacon grease and fully caffeinated, sugary beverages from me.  That’ll banish me from snack duty, don’t you think?)

2. There’s always that one overly enthusiastic, know-it-all parent who can’t wait to tell you what you should do, should never do, shoulda done.

Some people really get into these pre-K and elementary-aged sports.  Like, REALLY.  What is there to be so excited about?  These kids can barely keep their hats on their heads and their pants on their bums long enough to hit the ball off the tee or run in the right direction.  And frankly, I DON’T CARE how many bag chairs or blankets or beach umbrellas or gallons of perfectly frozen ice water anybody brings to these things, and I REALLY don’t care how many anyone thinks I should bring.  I’m not moving in, people.  I’m paying hard earned cash to watch my kid stare at birds overhead and refuse to keep his damn jersey tucked in, and I will do that without hiring a professional photographer or setting up camp every week, thank you very much.

3. I never know when to get involved and when to keep my mouth shut.

When’s the appropriate time to yell at your kid to stop twirling the net on the goal and join the team, and when’s the time to just shut up and let the coach handle it?  I feel as though I either look like the crazy sports parent who expects her child to be David Beckham or the absent disciplinarian who’ll let her kid strangle everybody on the opposing team before jumping up to intervene.  I can’t find the right balance.  And it stresses me out.

4. I can’t stand the cliques. 

Everywhere I go, there are mom cliques, AND I CAN’T STAND THEM.  Kids’ sporting events are packed to the brim with them.  I’m not a stay-at-home mom, so I can’t talk about joining the women in my neighborhood for a 10 a.m. stroll whenever I damn well please.  I’m not a rich career woman, so I can’t offer a review of a swanky weekend spa treatment in wine country.  I’m not crafty or domestic or creative, so I can’t discuss the sewing circles or scrapbooking groups I belong to.  Pretty much the only group I’d belong in is the one whose members swear and laugh at dick jokes, and for the life of me, I can’t find that one at the baseball or soccer fields.

5. They don’t sell booze.

See above.

Reasons I Like ‘Em

1. My kids learn sportsmanship.

They learn to listen to and respect and follow the directions of another adult.  They learn the value of working alongside their peers toward a common goal.  And they gain a sense of responsibility toward their fellow man.

2. They learn the value of hard work.

Success cannot come without failure.  In sports, players try and fail and try and fail before they succeed.  It takes hard work for a lot of kids to improve and master a skill.  Sports act as good practice for life.

3. They take pride in their efforts.

When they’ve done a good job at something or tried their best, they are proud.  They feel good about themselves.  They see their contributions as valuable.  They gain a sense of self worth.  And it’s fun to celebrate these accomplishments as a family.

4. It’s great therapy.

Ewing had a stroke in utero, which means he must work on his motor and speech skills tirelessly in order to battle his hemiparesis and cerebral palsy.  Alister needs fine motor practice as well.  Sports are great therapy (and more fun, too).

5. We’re making memories.

As much as I dread having to wrangle everyone and everything in order to get there on time with everybody at least halfway put together, in the end, it’s all worth it.  They’re making memories of their own, I’m making memories of my own, and together, we’re making family memories.

What do you loathe and like about kids’ sports?