Why is competition so ingrained within us? Seriously, think about your childhood. When you were little at about the age of five everything became a game, and you, like most children wanted to win. My children even when they were little made everything into a competition – like who could finish all their food first, who could get ready for school first and so my lectures began. Being first is nice but winning isn’t everything. Okay, fast forward a few years and my children are now into their sport years and my lectures are do your best and don’t be too sad if you lose.
The truth of the matter is I want my children to have fun, learn from the experience and try new things. This past weekend my third son tried his first gymnastics competition outside of the province. Of course I went with him, as did my oldest son and it was an experience. First off, I discovered something. I could never be a judge. My sons laughed at me whenever I clapped for the girls who got back on the beam. If I was judging I’d give them extra points for having the guts to get back up on that way-too-small piece of wood. And, half the time when the athletes were on the rings I couldn’t watch. I know they don’t dislocate their shoulders but seriously it looks like must. My son nailed (or as he would say, he stuck it) when he landed for his ring routine. I knew he was happy because he practically skipped off the mat.
Did I, or we, expect him to come first? No way. His smile could have lit up the room. When he got called back up to the podium for overall placement in his division to receive a medal for third place it didn’t matter to my son that he had placed bronze—to him it was gold. He’s enjoying gymnastics and really that’s
all that matters.
Childhood is a great time to try out things. I like to remind my children that there are many kids out there that don’t get that opportunity and that’s a harsh reality. The cost of sports can be outrageous, opportunity to try a variety of different sports when you live in the country can be almost impossible, and transportation can be an issue—I know this first hand because we are a one van family and scheduling extra-curricular activities for four children is daunting.
My son came home super excited. I was excited but to not spoil the moment I hid the hotel bill from hubby. Seriously, I want my son to try his best but his best might mean I need to win the lotto. I have no idea how hockey parents do it. I have a neighbor who has two boys immersed in hockey and it seems to me like they’re on the road every second weekend. Sports are a great way to keep your children engaged, active and out of trouble but the harsh reality is that for many families that’s a battle in itself.
If you have children in sports how do you juggle it all? And, how do you learn to say no without them crying? I’m looking for potential tips on that one. Also, I’m looking for some great child-friendly movies that highlight sports, both winning and losing – send them my way, please.