Monday, May 18, 2009

Does Your Child Partake In Any Sport?

Good for them. I hope they do wonderful, excel, and in the end just have a whole shitload of fun. 

Because really, that's what it's about, right? Fun?

I always thought so. 

I was in bowling from 4th grade on up. I had a pretty good average, but had a lot of off days. I still bowl. My average isn't as good as it used to be, and I have even more off days. But bowling is still fun. 22 years later, I still think bowling is the best thing since sliced bread.

If your kid has an off day...Leave them the fuck alone!! Or try encouraging them. Or give them a hug. Or a thumbs up. A smile? Anything but yelling and demeaning them.

My 10 year old son just competed in his 1st State Bowling Tournament. This was his first year bowling, in fact.

He got up there and threw a lot of gutter balls. He threw a lot of 1 and 2 pin counts. And I thought he did awesome! Why?

Because his sportsmanship was terrific. Absolutely amazing.

There were more than a few kids who were bowling with or near my children who were supposedly the worlds best youth bowlers. Or that's what you would have thought by the way their parents acted. 

Hit your mark! Move over! Did you move over a board to get that spare? I thought so. Move over! You're ball isn't going fast enough! You need to throw harder! Is this just a game to you? We can go home right now if you're just going to play around. (REALLY? Cause that's what I thought it was).

It is just a motherfucking game. The same as anything else.

You could see these kids deflate when they didn't get a good count. Every time they went up to throw that ball. I just wanted to cry for them. (I did, just a little).

These kids were feeling so dejected they couldn't even partake in any joy when they did throw a strike or a spare. They would slink off the lane, their faces in a scowl, awaiting the next comment about what they could have done to make that strike better. 

My whole point is, what these parents were doing to their kids was not helping them. They did 6 games yesterday, one right after the other. These kids got progressively worse and worse. (And yelled at more and more). The kids who had the parents behind them who were clapping for a gutter ball got better and better.

Please parents. SUPPORT your child. Give the praise and hugs and high fives and claps and whatever else. Maybe even some constructive criticism.

But don't beat them up for doing poorly. It will only make them do more poorly and in the end, just feel bad about themselves.

Now for some bragging. My son went in with a 51 average and bowled both sets of 3 games with a 63 average. Totally fucking awesome, right?  (I didn't sit down and figure any of this out until last night after he went to bed. And it didn't really matter, but the OCD part of me just had to figure it out).


CyberCelt said...

My son played soccer for many years. I always taught him that winning was cool, but enjoying himself was better. Try your best but do not make the sport your reason for being. I will never forget one parent, running up and down the sidelines, yelling, "Kill that kid." I walked over there and said, "Excuse me, this is soccer and not war and that is my KID!"

Anne said...

This is why I was a failure as a T-ball coach. I was coaching preschool and kindergarten and just wanted the girls to have fun. Unfortunately, my girls came out much less competitive than the other teams.

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