Wide World of Sports

image via momtastic.com

I’m new to the sports world. And by “sports world” I mean the one my kids live in. I grew up way out in the country where the only sport people participated in was hunting. At least in my family. My Dad thought sports was a waste of time, therefore we did not participate.

Then there’s my husband who has been playing every sport imaginable since birth. Not only did he play, but he did well. He’s crazy competitive and I honestly don’t know where that crazy sense of competition comes from. Are people competitive because they are good at something or are they good at it because they are competitive?

So, when you join a non-competitive book worm and an ultra-competitive athlete what do you get? Our kids.

Our 10 year old is a swimmer. She’s been swimming on the summer swim team for a few years now. It’s more of a recreational league and while there is a sense of competition, it’s only 6 weeks in the summer. Olympic athletes are not made on summer swim team alone. Last year, she decided to take her swimming more seriously and signed up for year round swim. This was a HUGE commitment for all of us. It’s not cheap, for one. There’s also a 6 day a week practice schedule. The kids aren’t expected to attend all 6 practices every week, but they are strongly encouraged to hit as many as they can. We go for 4-5 per week. The pool where her practices are held is about a 20 minute drive from our home. Like I said, HUGE commitment.

She is a GREAT swimmer. I could not do what she does. Period. And she enjoys it. But her times have started slipping. Rather than decreasing her speed, her times have actually increased and she’s getting beaten by swimmers that should be eating her bubbles. And it also happens to be time to register for the upcoming swim year. So what is a parent to do? I mean, if a leisurely swim is what she’s after there are far cheaper ways to accomplish that. But, if this is her passion, she needs to keep doing it. Right? No, seriously, I’m asking…is that right?

We had a heart to heart with her and told her that if she wants to keep swimming, she needs to show us in the water. (And by heart to heart, I mean my husband and I took turns giving her a good swift kick in the ass, verbally of course.) We needed to see some times that show she has a passion for this sport and it’s not just something fun to do with her bff.

At her next meet, I reminded her that if she wanted us to sign her up she needed to show us she was serious. She kicked ass. So, I guess we’ll go for another year of swim and see where it takes us. I’m kind of happy about that because watching her in the water gives me butterflies (no pun intended).

But I wonder, how do you sports parents do it? I don’t want to take the fun out of her sport. At the same time, if she’s going to swim competitively, shouldn’t she be pushed? Shouldn’t we call her out when we feel like she’s not doing her best?

Man, you good parents sure make it look easy. I’m just trying to keep her future therapy sessions to a minimum at this point.

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3 thoughts on “Wide World of Sports

  1. It can be a fine line between encouraging their passion but not pushing them. I think if a child is really determined at something and actively pursues it on his or her own, then that’s a good sign he/she is serious about it and continuation seems logical. If, however, he or she gets cranky when it’s time to practice or starts to take short cuts, then maybe the passion has flown the coop. Of course, the constant driving back and forth really eats into mom and dad’s time. πŸ™‚

  2. She doesn’t fight us on practice. Which is a very good thing. I guess it would be awful to take it away from her just because she wasn’t living up to some standard we randomly set for her. That would be like someone coming in deleting my blog because it’s not good enough. Just because I think I did my best doesn’t mean other people feel it is. Hmmm…Oh wise Carrie. You are awesome!

  3. I’d say (as an inexperienced mom of a 3-year old) you’re doing a great job based on this post alone! Nothing wrong with calling kiddos out and figuring out if this is time well spent for ALL of you. Maybe she was pulling a little Phelps…backing off a little after he tired of training and then kicking booty BAM just like the old days. πŸ™‚ Enjoyed this post, Chrystal!

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