Friday, May 4, 2012

For the Love of Kids


I love to watch my kids play sports. I do. I love to watch when they succeed-not for me, although it makes me super proud of course!-but because of the look on their faces. And sometimes, just sometimes they will look over to see that you saw! And you'd better be watching. My son plays baseball. He has for several years now and he's a good player. Do I think he'll be a professional ball player? Probably not. But he's a good, strong player and an asset to his team.

My daughters play soccer. Same thing, they do just fine! Will Mia Hamm have to worry about them? Probably not, but they are an asset to their teams... and yet, some of the parents are so harsh! Not so much at Haley's age (she's 5, just finished her first season...the first game I think she sat in the "circle" with her friend so they could pick flowers or something) but Lindsay has faced some harsh seasons with some real ugliness. All from parents and HER OWN TEAM MATES!

Here's what I don't like hate:
Adults bullying children while they're playing their sport. Playing! It's called that because it's supposed to be fun, right? At least I kind of think so.
Right now I'm very frustrated with so many people involved in our baseball world.

::We have a coach that calls the boys "girls" and "ladies". That just does not sit right with me. Boys need the affirmation that they are growing into men. Ok, I get that coaches have a different way of talking and being, but that just feels wrong.
:: This same coach only shows up to games. The other coach does all the behind the scenes work of practice. And at one game we actually saw him shove into our son!? (Yeah, I saw red on that one. Would've pulled my son off the field and the team right then and there but he wanted to stay because he loves the game. And I do think at this point, unless there is more-and you'd better believe I'm there watching 100% of the time-that he has the right to make this choice.)
:: We have parents on our team who belittle their sons' efforts. I have been humiliated for the boys on multiple occasions. Here's an example from tonight's game (which was an awful game for our boys anyway). A boy who is actually a pretty good player asked his dad for a water. The dad owns several businesses, etc. He told his son "I don't have any money. And besides, you don't get any water with the way you were playing." Ummmmm, his son had just dove for a catch and made it (thereby scoring an "out" for our team!). And anyways, since when is water a "prize" for playing perfect? Oh yeah, during that play the father was talking to another father about business or something so he totally missed that one. When one of the coaches said he had water in his truck the father said "I'm not walking. I'm tired." We got him a water. And I don't care if his dad was mad.
:: One boy's father was asked if he wanted his son to be on a select team that they have going also and his response (after his son had struck out but is a good player...)? "not if he's going to play like that" OH. MY. GOSH. He's a KID.

Do they think the boys are not trying? Do they think they want to get up there and strike out? All eyes are on them. Their team is counting on them. Whereas girls have this pressure to be pretty and skinny and perfect I think boys have this pressure to be athletic. To be "the man". All they need is their own parents making derogatory comments about their abilities!

Another thing...when a kid is walking off the field dejected because he just struck out or missed a you really think that's the time to yell how they should've hit it/caught it/thrown it harder or faster? Probably not. Absolutely NOT. Constructive criticism is very appropriate and necessary. Not humiliation.

My husband and I try to stress to our kids constantly that if they're there, trying their hardest and having a good attitude...we're proud of them. No matter what the outcome is. As long as they do those three things.

I saw this on facebook and wanted to post the image here but it just won't transfer:

He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast;
The bases are loaded; the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him, he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send the team home.
The ball nears the plate, he swings and he misses.
There's a groan from the crowd; with some boos and hisses.

A thoughtless voice cries,"Strike out the bum!"
Tears fill his eyes; the game's no longer fun.
Remember, he's just a boy who stands all alone.
So open your heart and give him a break....
For it's moments like this a man you can make.
Keep this in mind when you hear someone forget.
He's just a little boy, he's not a man yet.

1 comment:

Arielle said...

Cara you are a beautiful writer. I have never really thought about the pressures on boys' shoulders. Thanks for sharing.

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