I’ve tried my hardest not to be a “sports parent.” I don’t have any belief that my children are spectacular athletes. I do, however, want them to be active and enjoy competition. So, once they were old enough to run around and (mostly) listen to instructions, we put them in a soccer league. That worked out ok for the most part for one of my children but the other one…. kinda hated it. We tried cheerleading next and again, one of my children enjoyed it and the other one was pretty unhappy. So, when it came time to figure out another extracurricular activity, I would throw out suggestions and she would shoot down each one. Ok, I said, it doesn’t have to be sports, what about learning to play a music instrument? No, absolutely not. I was starting to reach the end of my rope when out of the blue she came to me and said, “I want to play lacrosse.”
I don’t know where lacrosse came from, it’s not a sport I watch on TV or go to see, but apparently Erin played it at elementary school at PE and liked it. At this point, I was willing to try anything as long as she would not be miserable. We played a short season in our church league and she enjoyed it enough that we decided to step it up a little bit and put her in a competitive youth league.
What a step up it was. It turns out the team that Erin joined was a team of ringers. Most of the girls had years of experience playing and not only that, but experience playing with each other. So, poor Erin was put in pretty deep waters and asked to swim. She was still learning basic skills while playing on a team that was running up the score on hapless opponents. It was hard, but maybe it was good for her to do something hard. Fortunately, she had a coaching staff that was relentlessly encouraging and pushed her to do her best and halfway through the season she scored her first goal, a big achievement that she worked hard to get. I was proud of Erin, because she’s really struggled with trying new things and getting frustrated when she is not instantly an expert at it and this was a real challenge of her and while she struggled in the season, she had a tangible accomplishment like a goal to show for it.
At the end of the season, we asked her “Do you want to do this again next season?” and after thinking for a moment, she nodded. Given how much she complained about soccer and cheerleading, that was a far more positive response. So, here we are, about to do all this again in a fall league. It is supposedly not quite as hardcore and competitive in the fall and since many of her teammates are moving up to the next age level, she’ll be one of the more experienced players. With Grace starting up cheerleading again for another football season, we’re about to start the craziness of fall again.