ANN BAILEY: Sports provide family with a win-win situationBefore I had kids, I marked the changing of the seasons in the traditional way; spring arrived March 21, summer, on June 21, etc. But about 10 years ago that changed, when my son Brendan was old enough to play t-ball, I started thinking of summer as baseball season. A few years later, when he started playing youth football, fall was gridiron season. Now, that Brendan is a freshman in high school and his brother, Thomas, is a seventh grader the four seasons are baseball, football, wrestling and track.
Before I had kids, I marked the changing of the seasons in the traditional way; spring arrived March 21, summer, on June 21, etc.
But about 10 years ago that changed, when my son Brendan was old enough to play t-ball, I started thinking of summer as baseball season. A few years later, when he started playing youth football, fall was gridiron season.
Now, that Brendan is a freshman in high school and his brother, Thomas, is a seventh grader the four seasons are baseball, football, wrestling and track.
I don’t really have a favorite sport when it comes to being a fan and have a pretty good understanding of all four of them. I grew up with older brothers so I learned how to play football and baseball and had a few wrestling moves practiced on me. Meanwhile, I competed in track.
During July, baseball reigns at our house. My daughter, Ellen, is in t-ball, Thomas is in Little League and Brendan is in Babe Ruth so there are games every day of the week. Because of my work schedule, I haven’t been able to get to all of them, but I have made it to a few.
Last week I went to the Little League tournament. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze and temperatures in the ‘70s, a perfect day for baseball. It was fun watching the game and seeing the skills the team had developed over the summer. Everyone was in good spirits and the boys seemed to enjoy playing, despite coming up on the low side of the score.
Sports tend to get a lot of bad press because attention is focused on high-paid, spoiled athletes or crazy parents of young baseball players who get in fights at games. However, there’s also a good side to them and I’ve seen much more of that than I have the downside since my sons started participating in organized sports in Larimore.
Brendan and Thomas are fortunate to have the opportunity to compete in baseball and football, two sports that are team sports and wrestling and track, two sports that are individual ones that contribute to a team effort. Through their participation, they’ve learned things like good sportsmanship, the importance of working your hardest for the benefit of the team and, of course, athletic skills.
They’re also fortunate, in my opinion, to be on sports teams in a small high school where they can get playing, mat and track time. Rather than having to choose one sport at which they excel and focus on that, they can participate in a variety of them. That means they can develop variety of athletic skills. Being on four different sports teams also allows them to widen their circle of friends.
Another aspect I also appreciate about my sons’ involvement in sports is that it keeps them in shape. Not only do they get a good workout when they’re practicing and playing the sport, sometimes they’re conditioning for one while they’re playing another.
This summer, for example, while they’re playing and practicing baseball during the day, they are also doing evening weight lifting and doing running drills for football. Brendan and Thomas also went to wrestling camp and ran a few 5K races.
All of the physical activity keeps my sons and daughter in good shape so two things I never have to worry about is that they are becoming couch potatoes or overweight. If they want to have an extra scoop of ice cream at snack time, it’s OK because they will likely burn it off before the day the is done.
Because Ellen, age 8, wants to keep up with her brothers, she also is physically active, doing sprints, sit-ups and pushups with them. Her brothers were amazed because she could do leg raisers, an exercise in which you lay on your back and hold your legs a few inches off of the floor, for longer than they can, and when they asked her how she could do that, she replied “You have to play through the pain.” That’s an attitude that will take her far in life.
On the flip side, my sons and daughter are not sports-obsessed and enjoy doing other things, like going swimming, making movies and playing video games. My sons also do chores on the farm, such as baling, mowing grass and painting, and Ellen helps with pet chores. Sports are a part of their lives, but not their whole lives.
Given all the positives that sports provide my family, they’re a win-win situation and I’m looking forward to at least 10 more years of having the seasons revolve around them.