I’m trying to be better.
Another spring, another time of year we are knee deep in youth sports. And we only have one kid playing right now. I can’t imagine what you baseball families are experiencing where you have like, what….50 games ahead of you before July?
Whether it is sports, drama, music or any club activity, when our kids are in it, we are in it. A sacrifice for all. And that makes it very personal, right?
Considering this mindset, I started to do some more thinking, deeper thinking and some self-assessment. You’ve likely noticed more videos and stories on social media showing parents and now even coaches getting out of hand with other players, umps/officials. The world has gone damn crazy.
Yet, I’ve noticed, that when I attend my kids games, my blood pressure is rising. I’m voicing some opinions on what I, in all my professional opinion (sarcasm) consider bad calls. And when there is potential for the kids to get hurt, those comments out of my mouth seem to get louder and sharper.
In my deep thinking I realized all of this is truly human nature. I mean, these are my kids and my friends’ kids and kids that I have learned to know. How could you NOT have this innate reaction to protect them, want what is best for them.
But then I stop and ask myself “what am I teaching my kid”?
I tell them to be kind. Am I?
I tell them to respect authority and those that know more. Am I?
I tell them to gain self-control, walk away and think before you act. Am I?
What I ultimately want is for my kids to remember the experiences, not the wins. To respect and admire their coach for the lessons learned beyond the field. To build the strong relationships with their teammates that will be the memories of their youth.
I know for damn sure I don’t want my kid leaving the field embarrassed because I was there.
Listen, I am not trying to cast stones, here – I am guilty. My hope, rather, is to help us all relate, acknowledge we may have this tendency…AND THEN DO BETTER.
Think, then act. And we may need to act differently. Volunteer to coach. Better yet, volunteer to referee. Volunteer to help on the sidelines before and after the games.
Become part of the good. Strike a balance between passion and patience. Be kind always, and let’s check ourselves when we find we lean toward the not-so-good.
My new goal is to ask: what lessons do I want him/her to leave the game with? Did I support that? What lessons have I learned today? (You know, to help me be a better ref in the future). ☺
One of the coaches at my kids’ high school, Cal Jacobs, made a post that said this: “why participate in sports and activities? It’s about commitment, learning to be a teammate, how to be accountable. It’s learning how to bounce back from failure. It’s preparation for life”
I get it, Coach. I get it.
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