Perhaps one of the saddest experiences a parent must endure is telling a child that they can’t go after an opportunity. Not only does everyone want the best for their kids, but they also want them to grow and prosper in as many ways as they can. This is the exact reason why it’s been hard to stomach telling my son I can’t afford all the equipment necessary for him to play sports this year.
As many of us know, there’s a lot of benefits as to why our kids should play sports. It’s a pastime that’s been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s easy to see why. Sports instill a sense of team- building and work ethic, as much as they do dedication and persistence. Not only that, but it can also be the core of a child’s social circle. This is a cornerstone to my kid’s, and many others’ lives, which is why it was so daunting to tell him the news.
At first, I was able to rationalize things a little bit. After all, sports equipment is expensive, “so I’m sure he’ll understand.” However, unfortunately for us, kids don’t really comprehend how money works (at all). I know it’s not his fault that my son doesn’t have a grasp on how the family’s finances work (and I’d never expect him to), but to him, it’s a sacrifice I should be willing to make. Don’t get me wrong, I’d go to the end of the earth and back for my children, but the more I thought about it, the more a few factors came to mind.
Kids Change Rapidly In Their Teenage Years
This may sound like a weak excuse, but the statistics say otherwise. Not only do most kids quit sports by the age of 13 (my son is 11), but they do so for good reasons. Quite simply, sports become less fun at the high school level. In a lot of cases, they become less about teamwork and instilling a sense of community but rather promoting the best athletes to have a shot at the collegiate level. Beyond just their high school teams, kids that are involved in other leagues can be quite expensive, what with travel, registration fees, annual dues, uniforms, and even group activities. I understand if your kid has a talent, then do everything you can to promote that. But on the flipside, we never wanted to push our son to do something that he wasn’t fully invested in.
Not Every Sport Requires As Much Equipment
More than ever, alternative sports are on the rise with kids (with my son as no exception). In fact, a lot of his friends love doing a wide range of things from skateboarding to climbing to even running. These are actually great talking points with him as it shows not only that he doesn’t have to do a traditional sport to have fun with his friends, but that a lot of these things can be carried on when he’s on his own. As a parent, I’ve seen through the years a lot of kids slip away from being active in their college years, and it’s no surprise why- without a structured sport in place, they don’t dedicate the time to exercise.
This is why I’m so supportive of him going skateboarding on weekends or taking a hike with his buddies as it teaches him a sense of self-discipline and independence. Even more, the fact that he’s getting up and doing it on his own is teaching him more that not everything in life that is good for you has to be a chore. Overall, there’s definitely been a silver lining to encouraging him to take this route, and my wife and I have been delighted with the results.
In The End, We’ll Both Grow Stronger From This
In scouring through social media for equipment, I came to a realization that I was looking at a pair of cleats; this made me start thinking about us playing soccer in the front yard. It wasn’t much, just a couple makeshift cones and a ball with the patches falling off, but we were having fun regardless. Just then it sort of hit me that sure, granting my son the opportunity to spend time with his friends is important, but he doesn’t need sports to do that. Even more, he doesn’t even need a team to go out and play. I think in the end, if just make the most out of what we have and try to focus on what we can offer others around us, then we’ll both be alright. And who knows? Maybe we can make some more memories that’ll last a lifetime.