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The Curvy Guide to Parenting: Learning Life Lessons from Team Sports

Started by Curvy Girl , author of Curvy Girl Guide 8/19/2011 6:00:11 AM

When our family moved to Atlanta last year, we found ourselves in a sort of fish-out-of-water situation. Or, a Canuck-off-the-ice situation, if you will. For the few years prior, the only sport my 3rd grader had participated in was hockey. You see, in Canada, boys (and girl too!) live and breathe hockey. They take skating lessons, they play in leagues, they even play on the street. Canadian boys know how to turn anything into a puck—a ball, a toy car, a hamburger bun.

In Atlanta, though, our hockey options were limited, and we were told that everyone who is anyone plays little league. So, reluctantly, we traded in Josh's shoulder pads and ice skates and helmet for some cleats, a glove and a jock strap.

Josh showed up excited for this first day of practice on his new team, The Bats.

I was nervous for my 7-year-old. He had never so much as swung a baseball bat or held a glove in his hand, while everyone else on his team has been playing since they were barely potty trained.

Josh smiled as he got his first strike, he smiles as he got his second, and he even smiled as he was called out.

He spent several months trying desperately to make contact with the ball and to catch a ball in the outfield without it popping out of his glove. And he never stopped smiling.

And then one day, he hit the ball.

And then he hit it again.

And he got his first run.

And he made his first catch.

And something clicked. He wasn't just an okay baseball player; he was good.

Just this week, he hit himself a cycle.

And he still never stopped smiling. And do you want to know why?

Because his coaches and his teammates knew he could do it. Instead of putting him down during those months, they knew that encouragement went a long, long way. They said, "YOU CAN DO IT JOSH!" enough times for Josh to really, truly believe that he could do it. Instead of blaming Josh's failed catches for the Bats' loss, they told themselves that Josh would make that catch the next time and they'd soon enjoy a sweet victory.

Baseball, like most organized sports, is a TEAM SPORT. Coaches, parents and players are all important, and my son is learning some super valuable life lessons from his days in the field, like these 9 right here:

1. Treat every person with respect. It doesn't matter if he is the best player on the team or the very worst.

2. Don't blame other people for your losses. It was a team effort; it's never a single player's fault.

3. Don't take all the credit for your wins. It was a team effort, it's never a single player's win.

4. Believe in yourself, even if you it's hard.

5. Believe in others, even if it's hard.

6. Never, ever give up. Just because you don't shine today, it doesn't mean your day in the sun isn't coming.

7. It's important to take chances. As the great Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Take the shots. Swing the bat. Try to catch the ball.

8. Take constructive criticism and learn from it.

And finally

9. Sometimes there's nothing more encouraging than a little pat on the rear.

Let's hear it from YOU: "What life lessons do kids learn from playing team sports?" for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate for sporting equipment for your child’s team.

Want to help more children stay active by playing team sports? Go to SUBWAY® Baseball DeSIGNS Auction on Ebay. All proceeds go to the Little League Urban Initiative, which helps fund inner-city youth leagues and teams.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SUBWAY® Baseball DeSIGNS. The opinions and text are all mine. The $500 Gift Certificate Giveaway Contest runs from August 19 - 28, 2011. A random winner will be announced by September 1, 2011. Official Contest Rules

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Viewing 1 - 9 of 9
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Reply by Ellen

8/19/2011 8:29:49 AM
My child is only 4, so he has one season of soccer and one season of tee-ball under his belt and is entering his second of soccer. He is so OVER-confident, this kid. He is convinced that he is the best at everything. So the key lessons that I want him to learn are: 1. You can always improve. Listen to your coaches and learn from those around you. 2. Good sportsmanship. Strive to do your best but being kind to others is #1.

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Reply by Kelli

8/19/2011 10:21:44 AM
I am not a parent, but I am a cheer coach at an inner-city school. Most of my girls have never been involved in sports. What they learn from being on the team is that it's not always fun, that you have to work in order to produce a beautiful result. Some of them don't make it to the end, when it gets hard, they give up. Those who stick it out to the end, however, learn confidence, how to be part of a team and, most importantly, how to keep at it, even when you don't feel like it.

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Reply by Laurie

8/19/2011 10:36:14 AM
Great article! I think kids also learn the importance of commitment. Even when you're discouraged, don't abandon your team! Stick it out until the season is over.

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Reply by CuteElla

author of Cute~Ella is... 8/19/2011 2:29:10 PM
I was a competitive skier for several years and the lessons we took from the mountain were too numerous to count, but the one that I think applies the best here? Know what you're up against and be prepared. You can't be ready for everything, but knowing what you're up against is a good start.

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Reply by Gina

8/19/2011 3:18:43 PM
My son has been involved in organized sports for 3 years now. He's played 3 years of little league,1 awful season of basketball, 1 season of flag football and on our 2nd season of tackle football (yeah buddy) and we have been through good coaches and bad. Dealt with horrible parents and great parents. What I've learned is that this time in all of our lives forges life long friends. He's made tons of friends outside of school, from different areas and walks of life. I've also made some good friends in the process. It also teaches tolerance of people who are different. When their on those fields or courts they don't care how much money eachothers parents make or who has the newest shoes all they care about is that they are teammates and are equals.

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Reply by Jen

8/19/2011 7:47:52 PM
My daughter is beginning her fourth year on a synchronized skating team. When she joined team, we were thrilled that she would get to experience life on a team, since we thought most ice skaters competed individually. Even though she was 8 when she started, the commitment and discipline were fierce. In synchro, nothing happens until everyone shows up. In synchro, if one person falls down, she has the potential -- every time -- to pull everyone down with her. In synchro, the team only does moves that the least-skilled skater can perform. In some ways, this has built tremendous self-discipline in the girls. They know the value of arriving on time ready to work. They push themselves to stay on their feet and hit their marks, because being out of line can throw the entire team off. They also had to learn be accountable as a group, and grow as a group. None of my daughter's teams have had kids from a single level -- they've all been multi-level, sometimes as much as 6 levels separating the highest skater from the lowest. That's a lot of pressure on the lowest girls, and a lot of room for the highest girls to bitch and moan. Yet, they don't do it. They understand that by joining the team, they will be required to move as one. The lower girls push themselves to accomplish higher level moves. The higher girls provide encouragement and role modeling. The higher girls also learn patience and the value of understanding and appreciating each team member's role and commitment. My daughter has been both a lower level girl and a higher level girl, and the lessons she's learned from this sport have made her into a tremendous person. She enjoys her achievements without slamming others for achieving less, she helps others when she sees them struggling, and she challenges herself every day to keep learning.

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Reply by Aubrey

8/20/2011 8:46:22 AM
While my kids have never been on an official team. They area always making their own to play kickball, baseball, football or anything else they can dream up. I think playing as a team has taught them a lot. They have learned good sportsmanship. That even if you lose it is alright because you tried and had fun doing it. They have learned that you are only as good as the other players on the team. Like you said. They have learned kindness and respect of others.

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Reply by Wendy

author of Providence Woman 3/7/2012 7:53:31 PM
Well our children haven't yet participated in team sports. They have played soccer, flag football and other sports. I know they enjoyed and benefited from working as a team as they do when they are at home.

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3/22/2012 4:22:29 AM
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