Team Players

I remember when my Saturdays consisted of taking one of the kids to a Gymboree class at our local mall and then we’d have the rest of the day free to shop, go to the park, or be lazy at home.  No more, my friends.

I have two little athletes now and we are busy, busy, busy.  Two weeks ago, Daniel was still doing basketball while he was starting T-ball.  And Annabel has dance class once a week and she just started her very first team sport…soccer!  I’m very thankful to have a husband who can be available in the early evenings to help with practice shuttling.  We are now booked every single Saturday with a game or a practice or birthday party. (Yeah, let’s just throw those birthday parties in there too.  My kids are WAY more popular than me or my husband.  My social life now consists of catching up with all my Mom friends in front of a bounce house.)

My husband and I have also started using these team sports to reinforce our family rules.  It’s more of a family motto: Be kind, helpful, hardworking, and fun.  I say it in the car each morning before school drop-off: Kind, Helpful, Hardworking, Fun.  And it really works for school.  They come home and tell us how they were kind, helpful, hardworking, and fun that day.   I’m hoping it reminds them to make good choices and enjoy learning new things.  And now we’ve modified the motto a bit for these team sports.  It’s especially important for my Annabel who is just entering this new arena.   She had a bit of a rough start with soccer practice because she didn’t want to run and work hard for an entire hour.  She tends to get a little lazy and was more interested in the “water breaks.”  But we reminded her that she wouldn’t get a star on her “star chart” if she didn’t follow our new family SPORTS rules:  No Crying, No Whining, Always Do Your Best, and Have Fun.

And it’s been working.  It worked great for this past Saturday’s game when Annabel fell and scraped her elbows and her knees.  First, serious props to her amazing coach who won’t let them quit!  I almost ran out on the field because she was limping and crying.  But in the end she was fine, just a little shaken and unmotivated.  During a break I reminded her about our new rules:  “No crying” and “no whining” and that she had to finish the game by “doing her best” and “having fun.”  She dried her tears, took a sip of water, ate a few goldfish crackers, and was back in the game.  She finished with a smile and, not only was I super proud of her, but she was proud of herself.  She was just so happy.  (Okay, it also could have been that cookie with icing from the snack mom, but I’ll take it!)

And with Daniel, these sports rules help to continually motivate him to do his best.  Sure, I know my little boy is motivated by the fact that he gets a new app for his iPad after he earns a certain amount of sports stars, but he has improved SO much since last year.  He’s confident, happy, and really loving his time on the basketball court and baseball field.  He works hard out there.  He gets so focused that he might get too competitive sometimes, so our new thing for him to work on is to support and cheer on his friends and not be a sore loser.

I always knew competitive sports would be a great way for my kids to stay healthy and learn to work with others, but I’m loving what they are learning about themselves.  That they’re stronger than they realized and that things that start off hard can turn out to be really, really fun.  Go, team!

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daniel - tball

daniel - bball

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annabel soccer - 1

Annabel soccer - 2

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