Organized Sports: Sweat it Out, Moms and Dads!
By Kara Martinez Bachman
Yesterday, a fellow mom complained to me about the hassles of helping her elementary-aged son play baseball.
“It was four hours that I waited out there in the heat! In the direct sun!” she said, a look of real misery on her face. “I was drenched in sweat, just sitting there hour after hour, feeling as if I could die. I wonder how the kids felt; how could they even move at all in this heat?”
I didn’t say it aloud, but I’m guessing that although the players were so hot you could probably fry an egg on their catcher’s mitts, they didn’t care all that much. I’m guessing those kids were bearing it like troopers, and having a grand old time.
I love my friend’s wherewithal to sit for four hours straight in the heat of late May. I have to admit that were it me, and if it were my child playing four hours of baseball, or football, or soccer, I’d have had to go to the car for little A/C breaks. I’d cool things down and air things out and would dread getting back out of the car again. That A/C is like oxygen once you get to my age and my unfortunate weight, where these extra pounds make it more difficult to stand the heat than it was back when we, ourselves were kids.
But that’s just the thing: we’re NOT kids any more. Things look different from our adult perspective. Try for a moment thinking back to the old days of running around on a soccer field, or cycling, or hitting a volleyball around. Just pause and recall long ago days when we were still enjoying competition and play enough to be unaffected by something as silly as weather.
Those were also the years when we would gladly jump in mud puddles, and walk directly into those quick afternoon rain showers without giving a single thought to how it might make our hair look.
The days of youth are the years when there’s a certain kind of “not paying attention.” When that lack of attention happens in the classroom, it’s a problem. But maybe when it happens on the ball field, or out on the playground, or when splashing from puddle to puddle, it’s a magical thing that allows our children to play in ways about which we adults have truly forgotten. They only notice what matter: the game. The sense of play.
For the remainder of this summer — and this fall, as you begin to schedule your children for school sports activities — try to remember that what takes wherewithal from we parents often takes very little from our kids if they truly enjoy the activity. Sports gives a format for healthy competition, a way to work off nervous energy that could cause problems if brought into the classroom. It also may give kids something to feel proud of, and that’s always a plus.
So get out your sunscreen, your floppy hat, your igloo cooler filled with life-saving cold drinks … and consider sweating it out good and proper, so your child can find new ways to move, compete, learn and grow.