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Lacrosse Mom Butterflies

I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach. Today my son will play in his very first lacrosse game. He's never played before but he's on a team where some parents take the game very seriously. How seriously? On the second practice of the season my son literally bowled over another child in a face off. My son proudly got control of the ball but having never played before, he didn't realize that you can't go through another player à la football. Luckily their coach is great and immediately stopped practice to make sure that my son's teammate was okay, and to explain to my son what the rules were. His teammate was fine. The jostling wasn't anything that would produce an injury which should have been the end of it, but the father of the boy who got bowled over said to the parents around him, "Someone get me a cleat so I can go stomp on that kid's head." He was referring to my son. I was shocked. I was shocked that a parent would ever utter these words about a child. I was shocked that his feelings were directed at my son. I was disappointed that children's sports have become so mean spirited and competitive especially among the adults. My husband and I are not sports parents. I mean, we believe in keeping kids active but we're not season

ticket holders anywhere and we don't watch sports regularly on TV. We're doers. We shoot hoops with our kiddo, or hit a tennis ball around but other than our son having fun, we have no sports aspirations for him outside of him playing in his club/rec leagues for fun. We enjoy watching him play and he enjoys the rough and tumble of team sports. A lot of the parents on our son's team however know each other through their various school/sports leagues. They scroll through their calendars trying to figure out which child is playing what sport and when. What was even more eye opening was each child's schedule. Every minute of every day is scheduled. I thought the twice weekly 90 minute practices and weekly games was a bit much for my son's age group but a lot of his teammates are playing on two leagues or are playing lacrosse and baseball. Their entire week is spent at school and at sports practices/games. I don't think I could handle that kind of schedule and I certainly don't want to be in a position where I have to look at a calendar to see if we can go for ice cream after a game. I want my child to see sports as something that he can do throughout his life. I want him to learn the rules of the various games. I want him to enjoy being active. I want him to learn the benefits of teamwork. I want him to learn to dig deep and believe in himself even when things aren't looking so good. I feel that sports can teach children these essential life lessons. Legends like Michael Jordan, and Cal Ripken played a variety sports before becoming the stars in their respective fields. Studies show that specializing in sports so early causes burnout and increases chances for injuries. No one is being handed a college scholarship today so as parents can we agree to let children be children? Can we agree to let the coaches do the coaching? Can we give our kids some space to grow and learn? Can we agree that cleats belong on a field and not on a child's head? Wish me luck, folks! I feel like I'm going to need it. ~HZM Here's a great video that summarizes the reality of team sports for parents from a coach with years of experience:

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