Flag football season will soon be upon us. We’ve had a marvelous, months long break from sports activity. At first when Full Speed said he needed a break, my mind went to panic mode. I thought this meant that he will never play a varsity sport. He will never fulfill his Division One destiny. He will try out, not make the first cut and then he will ‘review the tape’ of his childhood. He will then recall how he took a break sanctioned by his Mom, and proceed to blame me for the rest of his life for not making the team.
Whoa, wait a minute there irrational reality. So what? Who cares if he does or doesn’t make a team? Only society as a whole and a large portion of our community (and some family members and I’m not singling out Mad Dog per say). Ok, so maybe this isn’t the way to make sense of the insane pressure to be an elite athlete.
Honestly, I don’t know how to handle all these high expectations that my kids have to be ‘the best’ at sports. Why can’t reading be a sport? Or how about being super kind to others? As a kid, I would have DOMINATED in those. Look out Reading Olympics, I’m going for the gold!
Here’s the thing, sports can be a huge positive, but for the downside of competition, failure and feeling less-than, all a parent can do is adjust their own expectations of their children’s sport performance. Of course, I want them to succeed, but I have to have faith that the journey of sports and life, while unfortunately filled with its share of bumps and bruises, is going to be what helps them ultimately succeed as people. Yes, I said as people, not as professional athletes. I plan to cheer them on for awesome plays, showing up and for being themselves. I will never take a break from that.