By Katie Moosbrugger
In my house growing up, if you weren’t playing a sport full-time then you were watching and cheering one either on TV or on the side-lines. We were a pretty athletic family – and I guess a little competitive too – but it was the basis of my upbringing. I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. Sure we tried our hand at being well-rounded in other ways, such as learning an instrument or running for student office. But it was playing sports that ultimately taught me a lot of life lessons that I still fall back on today.
And with the all the recent talk about Tiger Woods– and all the playground chatter about who’s child is playing what sport – I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to some random ponderings related to scandals, sports, scores and scheduling. But I’m just tossing out some thoughts and am hoping you’ll catch on and play the comment game at the end of this blog!
So with the Masters coming up this weekend, there’s no time than now to lead off with scandal! First let me say that as much as I love to watch golf, I’ve never been a Tiger fan. As much as he seemed a great guy (and of course a great player) I always thought he seemed a bit arrogant and sometimes downright spoiled. So when the scandal broke I may have been initially surprised but I’m not shocked. I am, however, addicted to all the stories that have come out about this scandal. Yet despite all the articles I’ve read and interviews I’ve watched, I can’t help but think about all the kids (especially those who idolized Tiger) who are exposed to these same stories.
Talk about a life lesson learned early. Fortunately my kids are too young to have any interest in this story, but I’d love to know how other parents have dealt with this situation with their children. What kind of messages did you communicate? Did you bring up the conversation first or did your children ask you about it? How did you help them make a distinction between a role model and a hero?
Speaking of Tiger, he started golf at the ripe age of two! According to Answers.com (because yes I “Googled” his career), Woods made an appearance on The Michael Douglas show at age two where he hit a drive and had a putting contest with comedian Bob Hope. At age three, Woods shot a 48 over nine holes at the Navy Golf Club in Cypress, California, and at age five, he appeared on ABC’s That’s Incredible. In 1984 at the age of eight he won the 9-10 year old boys’ event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships.
Ok, my son is three and he can barely catch a basketball let alone hit a tiny ball on the ground. So that leads to my next question: How young is too young for sports? And does it really make sense to sign your toddler up for an organized sport or is that a waste of money? I’ve heard an argument that any sport before the age of eight is too early because a child’s coordination has not fully developed. But I am definitely guilty of breaking that rule. So what are your thoughts on this subject?
Switching gears, another topic I have mulled over is the whole concept of not keeping score in children’s sports. I get that it’s to protect the feelings of the players and preserve their interest in the sport. And to keep parents from getting too competitive too. But what about teaching the lesson that it’s ok to lose? Or that it’s ok to work hard to be the best you can be? I have only had limited exposure to youth sports since being a mom, and the programs we’ve been involved with have kept score. Are there “scoreless” sports programs in the Triad? Have you been involved in that? What do you think about this concept?
And finally, the last thing I want to bat around is the topic of scheduling – or to be more specific: over scheduling with sports. This whole subject intrigues me because it’s one of those things where I say now, “I’ll never have my child play more than one sport at a time.” Yet I know I’ll be eating those words in a few years.
So why do we do this to ourselves? My brother and his wife have four children between the ages of 13 and seven and they spend their ENIRE weekends tirelessly driving the kids from one sports event to the next (and sometimes taking two cars when events overlap). I know they are not the exception; this is a common weekend occurrence for lots of families. So how does it get this way? Is this usually the request of the child or do you think parents push this kind of schedule? Do you think a child could ever play too many sports in one season? And is this even something to debate since it seems inevitable and just part of our parental life?
Ok, now it’s your turn. Please step up to the plate and lob a few comments, questions, concerns or conversations my way!