Welcome to Organized Sports!

Our family has just entered the world of organized sports as our 3rd grade daughter joined a local basketball league. I always felt some hesitation about signing our daughter up for a sport.  What would she think? Would she be intimidated? Would she get to know the other kids?  What would she think of losing and winning? Or what if they didn’t keep score – would she be frustrated by the lack of an official “winner”.

I played elementary school sports in the 80s. Back in the day when losers were losers and winners were winners. We recently shared stories with our kids about baseball games and phrases like “Hey batter, batter, SWING” trying to get the opponent to swing at the wrong time or songs like “Pitchers got a rubber arm….”.  My sensitive daughter was shocked that kids would shout things like this at other teams and purposely try to make them mess up.  And hearing it as an adult, it does make me feel uneasy about what we were demonstrating and teaching kids in those games.

And yet, watching nieces and nephews play sports over the years as created a different sense of uneasiness.  Games where there is officially no score kept (even though everyone knows deep down who won or lost); games where everyone gets a medal at the end and “we’re all winners”. Are we really all winners? Is that what we want to teach our kids?

This past weekend we experienced our first basketball game. I was thrilled to see some of the competitiveness of my childhood games mixed with the fairness we try to teach today.

For example in honor of a competitive game, a score was kept  and my daughter had the chance to experience her first loss which I think is important to learn to deal with. They gave high fives at the end congratulating the winners and practicing graciousness in losing.  My daughter’s team also had a star player who had the ball a lot and my daughter quickly learned that she was going to have to get better at catching if the star player was going to give up the ball to pass to her. And finally, the refs were kind, but they did call fouls, traveling and double dribbling.

And yet, there was a wonderful sense of kindness and fairness to the game as well.  The refs helped point the girls in the right direction when they got turned around, helped them find the person they were supposed to be guarding. I loved watching the coach run out on the court when the ball was about to be inbounded, helping his girls learn where to stand and remember what play they were going to try. This is a time of teaching, not just competition.  And I loved sitting on the sidelines, cheering for my daughter’s team, but also shouting out, “great shot!” when the other team scored a tremendous basket as well.

It was a wonderful introduction for our family into organized sports. Can’t wait for the next game!

This entry was posted in Family Life. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Recent reflections from our blog