The Wide World of Sports


IMG_1997It’s that time of year again to get the kiddos signed up for spring sports. There are only about 1,257 different ones to choose from, especially in our amazing city (maybe a slight exaggeration, but maybe not). I think this is my oldest’s 16th season to join a team of one sort or another, and we’ve done it all from football (flag and tackle), soccer, volleyball, baseball, gymnastics, tennis, and basketball. We started as early as 2 years old with a very basic, non-competitive YMCA soccer league. It was more about getting out and having fun than it was about playing soccer, but they sure were cute in their soccer shorts and shin guards.

We are definitely a family that loves sports and being a part of a team, but with three kids, managing our busy schedule is always a challenge.


For example, last fall a typical Tuesday and Thursday looked a little something like this…

  • 3:00 p.m. – Pick up younger kids from school, get home, snack, homework, think about dinner plans.
  • 4:20 p.m. – Pick up oldest from middle school, get home, change, eat a snack.
  • 5:00 p.m. – Leave for football practice (about 20 min. away).
  • 5:30 p.m. – Meet my husband at football practice and pass off 2 boys.
  • 6:00 p.m. – Drive daughter to volleyball practice (and try to get in a little exercise while watching practice).
  • 7:15 p.m. – Leave volleyball.
  • 7:30 p.m. – Get home, get dinner ready, see that any extra homework gets done.

And this was when both boys had football on the same days. We have definitely had even crazier days, but this is just an example of a day in the life of a family who chooses to make sports a part of their lives. Although I certainly don’t think we always succeed at balance and organization, there are several things we have done that I believe help us keep our sanity.

First, we only let each child do one thing at a time. We do not think it is wise or even possible in our case, to let any of our three sign up for more than one activity at a time.

Secondly, church is a priority in our home, even when it comes to sports. This becomes increasingly difficult as they get older and the voices around you begin to say they “have to play more if they ever want a chance to play in high school.” We’ve just decided that this is a risk we are willing to take. We let coaches know upfront that we won’t be available until after 12:00 p.m. on Sundays and it has not been a problem up to this point. Whether it is church, family time, or something else, set priorities and stick to them.

Third, we try our best to know who is coaching our kids. This is not always possible ahead of time, but if we have had a positive experience with a coach we try to get back on their team for another season. In addition, we stay involved. As our kids have gotten older and it becomes more the norm for parents to drop their kids off at practice, we make sure to be at as many of the practices as possible. I have many reasons for this, but one of them is so that I can get a feel for who is influencing my child as well as what kind of things they may need to work on outside of practice.


As in so many areas of our life, our involvement in sports is all about balance. The trick is to staying off of the slippery slope that leads to a life completely ruled by your commitment to sports. You must be intentional or you will find yourself there in a heartbeat. And it’s ok to take a season off every now and then. Some good friends of ours used to do that every few seasons just so that they could go camping on the weekends as a family. Their son is playing high school baseball and hasn’t been scarred for life because he missed a couple of seasons along the way.


I want my children to experience the important lessons that come from being a part of a team. I have loved seeing the confidence that my children have gained when they have gotten a good hit, or made a winning serve, or caught the ball in the outfield. My kids have learned the lesson that you don’t quit even though you may not feel like doing it that particular day. They have learned that sometimes you have to sit out in order for someone else to get a turn to play. They have made friends and strengthened relationships with both the kids they are playing with, and the adults who are coaching them. I wouldn’t trade our involvement in sports for anything, and I’m confident that my children would say the same.

Have you started your kids in sports? How do you handle the keeping track of extra activities?



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