Sunday, June 24, 2007

Give Your Kid a Sport They Can Love Forever

by Amy Cortez, Editor The Eclectic Telegraph

One of the saddest things I have seen lately was on a soccer field. A kid about 12, had a throw in that was OK by my standards, but not OK by the coach's. He yelled from all the way across the field "What was that? What's the matter with you? And you are my granddaughter!"

Needless to say, I was horrified.

As I looked around the field, there were hundreds, if not a thousand people on these several plots of grass, all painted up for soccer. It didn't take much for me to realize that the people on these fields were not the least bit affected by this coaches outburst, and I am sure many heard it.

When did we become so harsh with our children?

My son used to play soccer. That was 6 years ago however. I remember that he would get panic attacks in the car on the way to practice and especially for games. His last coach was similar in demeanor as the one I had witnessed this day and he wasn't the first coach like this, but it was the last one for him. This sort of abusive behavior is why he won't play the game on a team anymore. I fully supported his decision, because I agreed that the behavior from the coach was unacceptable.

The last time my son played soccer was in a pickup game on the island of Mayreau in a school yard there. There it was fun, not to mention, real soccer, not this sanitized version of American-kid soccer.

You don't have to be a soccer mom.

Sports are important to the development of our children especially these days when it has become the norm to plop in front of a computer or TV screen for hours at a time. But you don't have to be a soccer mom. Soccer mom is a really bad stereotype in my opinion these days. It seems, soccer moms condone the sort of behavior I witnessed by this coach. By not saying anything about this sort of behavior, they give permission to this sort of person to verbally abuse their kids. An besides, it's not even real soccer what I see kids playing here in America.

I love the water and kayaking is a new love for me. I have introduced kayaking to my son and I believe he loves it too. Every time we see a scull boat or another kayak on top of a vehicle, he gets excited to see it. At 15 he still goes on my goofy outings with me.

My dad taught me golf and I love it. It is a sport I still play. My dad has an immense level of patience, more than me, for teaching golf to my son and at this very minute playing for the first time on a regulation course [up until now it had been the executive courses]. He will also volley tennis balls [a sport he's learning] withmy son until one of them gets tired.

For years my son has been working towards a blackbelt in Taekwondo, not because he's been told to, but because he really loves the sport. He is one belt away from being a blackbelt. He has a wonderful coach at an Olympic training center, it has been the love this coach shows for the sport that keeps my son so interested and motivated.

When we lived in Utah, I took my son to Sundance Mountain resort for a beginners ski lesson. By the time we moved away from Utah, he had become a member of the Alta Youth Race team because he loves the sport. Everything that happened in between these events were driven by my son's love for the sport and his witnessing coaches who loved the sport.

Kids don't deserve to be verbally abused on a soccer field - or anywhere else for that matter. Kids don't need to be bullied into playing a sport well, they'll do it because they love it. Alot of what I saw on that soccer field that day was verbal abuse and bullying and that is just so sad.

In my opinion, as parents, and especially as homeschool parents, it is our responsibility to introduce things our kids will love - hopefully forever. The best way to do this is to introduce things you love, show a passion for it and they'll "get it". I promise.

The June Edition of The Eclectic Telegraph is out & here is what else we wrote about: