STORY BY CARLY GRENFELL
“But no one escapes this world unhurt, emotionally if not physically.”
Not to put a damper on your day, but this quote which Bill Speros used in a recent Boston.com article jumped out at me. It talks about parents, youth athletics and the reasons why “kids aren’t playing.”
I’ll admit, it is a touchy subject. But, I absolutely love and appreciate the argument it raises. As someone who has grown up around sports, I simply cannot imagine my life without them.
However, they are not the end all be all. And for parents: Sports do not define your children.
Sports shouldn’t define any athlete: young, old, athletic, not athletic, naturally talented, hard working, driven or participating just to participate.
Not to disregard the kids themselves as a source of blame, but parents are often the ones who lose sight of this notion.
From a player perspective, whether it was middle school, high school or college, I never quite understood why some parents would insert themselves into situations when their kids weren’t playing.
Since when does every single player get playing time? In what sense do parents think their kids are entitled to playing time?
It drives me nuts when the coaches or other players are automatically victimized.
I am not a parent and will not be one for a while. But, honestly, what message are you sending? It seems like a lesson of placing the blame on other people when things aren’t going your way.
This is where I would say ownership comes in. Ask your kid what’s going on. Ask how practice is going. Ask their opinions of why they think they aren’t playing. Don’t just assume they deserve to be playing and automatically get upset when they aren’t.
Take ownership and expect the same from your kids. It could solve a lot of problems.
I say this because, yes, even as a college basketball player, I have ridden the bench plenty.
I’m not embarrassed to admit that. Why? Because I had parents and mentors who told me to get over it, to work harder and to not give up on something I really care about.
It is absolutely true that no one escapes this world unhurt. Things don’t go your way. Coaches miss what you bring to the table. So what? It is your job to prove yourself differently.
The earlier we realize that, the less say parents will have when it comes to youth sports. Sports can be an incredible outlet for growth when approached with a truly competitive mindset.
Maybe it’s just me, but thinking everyone should play is far from a competitive mindset.
The best players play. The hardest-working players play. The most gifted players play. Anything less than that is met with a harsh reality, being that they probably won’t play.
Where many parents are mistaken is thinking their kid should be playing without any grasp, or having unrealistic expectations of the situation, and then pointing the fingers elsewhere.
Just because your kid doesn’t play doesn’t mean it will always be that way. But if it is constantly the coach’s fault, and never a matter of ownership, chances are your kid will never understand what it means to compete.
To compete means to find what is wrong, and do everything you can to fix it.