Youth sports an invaluable experience
Posted by Dean Holden at February 2nd, 2013
By Jordan Figueiredo, Cambridge Times, 9 January 2013
The moment I recognize a former teammate or coach I am immediately overwhelmed with a feeling of nostalgia which manifests itself into a warm smile.
It fascinates me that a bond formed so long ago remains unbreakable, no matter how many days, months, or years have elapsed since we last exchanged words. Like me, many others can relate to the joy that youth sports has brought into our lives.
This speaks volumes about the impact of youth sport, and its role in the socialization of our children. Not only do my memories of early morning practice, sleepover tournaments, and occasional success on the ice form my fondest childhood memories, they are are also the most vivid.
I can recite pre-game speeches word for word, but can’t recall a single line from my Grade 9 history textbook. Interesting…
The time you and your children spend at the rink or practice field helps lay the foundation for their eventual work habits, self discipline, attitudes towards fitness, and general zest for life. Step up and be an active partner in that process. I credit youth sport for teaching me about respect, honour, integrity, work, play and resiliency.
The pressure we put on our youth to win is ludicrous. We should provide every opportunity for our children to fail! Try a new skill (slap shot), fail at it, practice it, try again.
Resiliency is a difficult trait to learn, but probably the most important in determining the future success and happiness of your child.
What about teamwork? Teamwork in the household, at work, and in the community is essential. Youth sport is a great forum for learning these essential life skills.
Parents’ attitudes towards their child’s participation in organized sport can have dramatic impact on their overall experience.
Be realistic. A very small percentage of youth sports participants are destined for pro-sports, so let’s treat the experience for what it is – a social learning forum.
We have a tendency to compartmentalize different parts of our life, which is unfortunate. To look at organized youth sport solely as a vehicle for a child to learn physical skills is to undermine its impact on the “whole person”.
The best gift you can give your child is to educate them and sport can be an incredible catalyst for real life learning.
This post was inspired by my experience as a player in Cambridge Minor Hockey, teammates (that turned into lifelong friends), parents and specifically my favourite coach (now Winter Hawks GM) Jim Kelly, who taught us how to “dump and chase”, but more importantly shared his enthusiasm for the game of hockey and commitment to lifelong learning through sport.
There are amazing people in our community that do not get recognized enough, even though their affect on the community is powerful. Parents, thank your son’s or daughter’s coach. They deserve it.