Kids and sports. Make it fun, not a burden.
Most of dads I know enjoy sports. Many of them played in the past and a good number of them still play their favorite game. I myself am a soccer aficionado. Being from Brazil made it easy for me to fall in love with the sport and I constantly tell my friends that one of my biggest dreams is to stay healthy enough for, one day, play with my sons. But I mean, really play. Even if it’s a pick up game. I imagine Pedro being 18 and Lucas 16 and us three on the same field playing together. I will be 48 by that time. So I really hope I can stay healthy until there.
I know I am not alone when I say I want to see my kids playing sports. It be amazing if they choose soccer (futebol for us Brazilians) but I’d be happy with ANY other sport they choose. The joy of competing, the frustration, the challenge, the discipline, the friendships, the respect for yourself and others… I got it all from playing sports.
Every now and then my wife asks me: “What if Lucas doesn’t like sports that much?” Well, that is a possibility but it’s one that I’m trying to work on preventing.
Sports is part of almost everybody here in the United States. Even if you don’t like it you end up exposed to it. And in some cases parents almost force their kids to play sports. That’s when the problems being.
Soccer moms, t-ball dads, you name it. In every organized sports team for kids there’s at least one or to parents who seem to be ten times more excited than the child himself.
My parents were exactly the opposite. They NEVER went to my games. I did get upset sometimes but my passion for the sport was much bigger. And today I can say that I got as far as I got playing sports because of my own will. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe parents must
support and even give their kids a little push to get into sports. But please remember that for kids sports should be just a game, just a pass time with their friends. A time for them to get their wiggles out.
As they grow they might develop a deeper interest in the sport but let it happen naturally. You can watch sports with them, set the environment but if your son or daughter comes to you and say: “Dad, I don’t want to play soccer (football, baseball, volleyball, softball) anymore.” Your reaction just be calm and composed. Ask them if something happened? If they’re being bullied? If somebody did something to him/her? And if the answer is something as simple as “I just want to do something different now.” Just let it be.
One thing you should NEVER, EVER, EVER, do is to act like a total jerk. If your kid is good or not you’re there just to support. Don’t pretend that they’re a superstar when they can barely kick the ball straight but also don’t demand that they perform at a professional level when they’re only 8, 9 or 10 and their goal is just to have a good time.
The video bellow was a campaign from the Football Association in England (the FA) to show the kind of behavior that can destroy a child’s spirit and love for sports. Don’t be that dad. Be cool. Be a Superdad!