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Ten lessons I've learned from sports

Being raised as an athlete was probably one of the best gifts I was given by my parents.  Although it was hard to miss this having practically grown up on the ball diamonds, watching my Dad play or being constantly told by my mom about how much she loved basketball.  Wait, or was that cheerleading?
Anyway, here are my top 10 reasons why I will be pushing for my kids to play competitive team sports as they grow up:

1.  Strategy- people get bored by baseball easily, but they likely don't know how much strategy and thought is put into each pitch, move or swing.  I was always amazed by my teammate, Nicole, who had a database in her brain that would be able to tell me where the batter hit last and what they'll do on any pitch.  She had an insane memory.  Sports provide an opportunity for critical thinking and it takes a lot of strategy to assemble an effective offense or defence.


2. Patience-  you are forced to work with a lot of different people on a team and you won't always get along with them or understand how they work.  Patience is key when dealing with such people as well as with umps and referees. 

3. Loyalty- I don't know many people who become fans of a team one year and then switch to a different team the next.  I grew up an Oiler and Blue Jay fan and that's how I will root.  I guess one could be a fair-weather fan, but that's my next point.  I hope my kids learn to root for a team and to stick with them.  

4. Bandwagon hate- After experiencing playoff baseball for the first time in 22 years, it was interesting to see how all of a sudden Blue Jays were everywhere.  Even though they are based in Toronto, they get a big following across Canada, but not to the extent where people are wearing their jerseys on game days.  Except when they were doing something good, like the playoffs. All of a sudden the radio stations were covering their games and people were sporting their goods.  I don't mind that, but I've come to realize that bandwagon fans are the terrible 2s of baseball. They whine, they complain and they are ecstatic the next minute, all without really understanding why.  I guess they add a little excitement for the die-hard fans, but mostly they are annoying.  This point really doesn't go with my theme of why my kids need to play a sport. Oops. Rant over.

5.  Time with your kids- Anytime you can connect with your kids is an important time.  When kids can see you watching them (AND NOT YOUR PHONES) then they get a sense of pride- I swear Willis spends more time on the court watching me watch him than anything else.  I'm sure that is a phase that will pass, but I know that I always want an opportunity to discuss his game when he's willing.

6. Family time!  I had a love and hate relationship with the rink.  Except for rink burgers, those were delicious.  We were dragged everywhere to watch each other play, unless we were playing ourselves.  I'm pretty sure, begrudgingly, my brother and sister were my biggest fans and vice verse.  I know it was annoying then, but now as a parent I can see the value in being present in each others' lives. My favourite year was the year Kyla and I played on the same ringette team.


7.  Keeps a kid busy and out of trouble. Somewhat. I could never go to the May Long or August Long crazy parties at the lake because we always had a ball tournament.  It sucked as a teenager but from my parents' perspective, it was likely brilliant.  Although, I'm sure I found other ways to torment them.

8.  Communication skills.  Playing with a team requires a high level of communication in order to have success.  You can't just play for yourself, you have to play for your team.  You can't give up when it gets tough.  You have to work hard.  It's so much like a marriage.

9.  Friendships. Some of my best friendships were born on the diamond or in the rink.  You have to learn to communicate with people on a different level and push one other without stepping over any boundaries.  A friendship made on a team has an entirely different layer to it.
Jordan and I

10.  Good, healthy competition.  I love to win but I'm also okay with losing.  Whether you are on the winning or losing end, there are some great lessons in sportsmanship that can be learned.  Don't we all want our kids to know how to win and lose with grace?

Sports were one of the best parts of growing up for me and I can't wait to see what type of athletes Willis and Lucia will become!


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