Archive for Sports

Teaching Hatred Through Sports

Rivalries in sports are as old as the sports themselves.  We love cheering our team on to victory and (on occasion) smashing the other team’s dreams.  There is a line though which is crossed a lot which (at the least) is unhealthy.  The line I am referring to happens with our children  in the arena of sports all the time. Specifically, when a parent teaches their child to hate a rival.

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How Far is Too Far?

Last Tuesday, I wrote a post called Sports Leagues for Children.  The article highlighted the fact that all sports leagues aren’t created equally.  Some are more competitive than others.  Depending on your child and their stage of development, non-competitive leagues have some advantages worth considering.  Here is a link to the article for more information. http://www.claytonpaulthomas.com/archives/628  That post leads me into today’s story.

Last week, a story broke out of Collier, Tennessee of a high school football coach named Shawn Abel who resigned after a profanity laced tirade (before a football game) was recorded and placed on Youtube.  For more details on the specifics of the story, here’s the link.  I will warn you though the actual clip is vulgar and children should not be around when you choose to listen to it.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/shawn-abel-collierville-football-rant_n_1069695.html.

After listening to the rant, my wife was convinced Coach Abel should have been fired immediately.  For those of you who agree with her, I can’t blame you.  The tirade was awful and deeply personal.  Others of you may think this is a free speech issue and the rant was in a locker room which has closed doors for a reason.  It’s hard for me to argue this point as well.

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Sports Leagues for Children

I feel that sports are a great addition to the maturation process for any child capable of playing.  But where a child plays is equally as important as the sport itself.

Some leagues are geared to be competitive.  Catholic school sports (in my area) are the first that come to mind-especially in the middle school years.  Their goal is to win each game and play the best players in order to achieve their means.  Systems are taught but all players aren’t “developed.” The players that coaches concentrate on are the ones again to achieve the final goal of winning. It seems to me the development of a player is more in the hands of the parents.  This was true when I was young and I haven’t seen evidence to the contrary.

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Cross Country Blues

As regular readers of this blog know, I like to talk about parenting, teach about parenting, and learn from other parents.  I find great satisfaction in becoming a better parent and helping others become better as well.  Please pardon me though because for today’s blog, I have to construct a couple of levels to the soap box.  A lesson was reinforced to me last night that I hope others can learn.  Allow me to explain.

My oldest child participates on a cross country team for the YMCA.  He was recruited by the coach and seems to like it.  While cross country isn’t my favorite sport, the rule has always been for my children to be active.  What they do is up to them.

During tonight’s practice, there were two children crying while running.  I understand pushing children to become better at what they are doing but I just don’t get why a child needs to be pushed that far.  To me, all sports should be used for the purpose of fitness, promoting competition, building confidence, and learning how to work with a team.  Oh, and I forgot the most important reason for sports.  It’s a thing I like to call HAVING FUN!

In Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, there is an extensive section on how sports are positive for many walks of life (even outside of sports).  There are so many sports from which children can choose.  Why push a kid to tears when they are in a sport they don’t enjoy?  What is a parent trying to get out of the sport?  In last night’s case, it was completely the parents’ fault.  The cross country coach is competitive but has a laid back personality.  The parents of the children crying wouldn’t let them stop running.

For all of my readers, let me leave you with this.  Sports are like food.  There are some things children like and others they don’t care for.  To this day, you won’t catch me eating a mushroom for some of the same reasons you won’t catch me driving my child to tears in a sporting event.  If they don’t like it then they don’t like it.  Children are individuals and they will find their passion in a sport (even if it’s only for recreation) over time.

Since I referenced my book once, how about I do it one more time?  At the end of every chapter, there is an assignment which is short but meant to reinforce what was taught. Therefore, here is your assignment.  Ask your child over the weekend what sport they would like to play and go play it with them.  You may totally stink at the sport but your child will appreciate the time you are spending with them.

My next post will be on Tuesday.  Until then, all my best to you and the ones you love. (Now, how I do climb down from this soap box anyway?)

Minnesota state meeting – Cross Country

This spot can be fun if parents are not driving their children to tears!

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