Monday, October 15, 2012

Embrace Sports as a Lesson in Living

I'm teaming up with Family Eats again this month for a blog collaboration. Pop on over for recipes on delicious after-practice and after-game snacks to keep your athletes healthy and well-fed!

kids playing soccer

Throughout their childhoods, both my daughters have played sports. Soccer, basketball, volleyball - whatever was in season, they played it. As part of a generation whose girls were not encouraged to be athletes, this was an adjustment for me.

When my eldest daughter's inaugural soccer season began, I was lost. I didn't know the game or the terms, and I went to her matches reluctantly. Each was scheduled for as early as possible on Saturday mornings at some far-off field that always took forever to find. The fall weather was inevitably cold and rainy, and those two miserable hours always ended with a sick little girl. Or so it seemed.

Then my second daughter began to play. By this time I'd learned the rules, and I found myself actually looking forward to the events as opportunities to connect with the other team parents. These gatherings helped me to feel like a part of a community of like-minded parents. Together we cheered our daughters to victory and comforted and encouraged them when they lost. And as if by magic, everything I thought had been out of my control changed. The match locations were closer to home, the weather was wonderful, and my daughter never got sick after a rainy game. Interesting what a change in attitude can do!

soccer team

The importance of teamwork, having tenacity in difficult circumstances, and a feeling of self-worth were only some of the valuable life lessons the girls learned during their time on the field and on the court. I'm so pleased that my girls are growing up in a society that doesn't bar them from certain activities because they are female. I revel in their triumphs and defeats, knowing they're learning invaluable lessons either way. I come away from those games inspired and motivated, knowing their futures will be bright.

soccer team

Children's sports activities are an important part of a child's education. They teach the child teamwork, discipline, and how to build solid relationships with other teammates and coaches. There is always some type of sport available during the year. Encourage your children to at least try a sport; no matter how athletically inclined they are, they will surely benefit from the experience of being part of a team and working toward a goal together, building a strong sense of what lies ahead for them in the adult world. Sports involvement is particularly beneficial to young women, as it can provide them with a feeling of empowerment and self-esteem.

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