Two words: Sports talk. Two more words: Mom blogger. What could possibly go wrong?
I was extended an invitation by Damon Benning, who is one half of the broadcasting powerhouse known as Sharp and Benning in the Morning, to appear on their sports talk show this Wednesday. They’ve been educating and entertaining listeners for over two years on 1620 the ZONE, Omaha’s #1 local sports station.
The topic is youth sports and how adults ruin everything for the kids.
I may have taken the liberty of adding the last eight words based on my opinionated view on this matter.
I will be part of a panel of experts – well, besides me, of course – and I have no idea what to expect. Strangely, that is precisely how I prefer to work. I don’t want to know what you’re going to throw at me. I like to respond by winging it (much to the chagrin of my former coaches and bosses).
I know that Damon was a former standout student athlete like myself. He simply played in a larger arena. He was a running back for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers from 1992 to 1996. He was the 1996 Orange Bowl MVP.
He knows what it’s like to compete at a high level and then raise kids who are playing competitive sports as well.
If he doesn’t introduce me as a Creighton University Hall of Famer to tout my credentials, you better believe I will. I know I will be speaking to a (predominantly) large group of male listeners, and I can only imagine what they’ll all be thinking when they hear a local mom blogger is joining in on the discussion.
Guys, listen, I had an athletic career before I was a mom…and it was a damn good one. So, yes, I do get my panties in a twist when a parent tries to convince everyone that their kid is destined to go pro, or decides it’s a good idea to publicly humiliate their child because they disagree with a coach or an official, or generally live vicariously through their offspring on the court or field. Your kid’s either got it or they don’t…the truth hurts sometimes.
The statistics speak for themselves: From High School to Pro – How Many Will Go?
I believe Dr. Louis M. Profeta put it best in his March 25 post, Your kid and my kid are not playing in the pros.
With all of these facts staring us normally level-headed adults straight in the face, why do we continue to justify spending thousands upon thousands of dollars in private lessons, league fees, hotel accommodations, athletic gear, and (gasp) medical bills to keep our son or daughter in the game?
Anyone who knows me knows I am one of the biggest advocates of youth sports. Team sports, in particular, teach kids the valuable lesson that things don’t always go your way. They drive home the concept of a collaborative group being greater than any one all-star.
The biggest dilemma I’ve faced as I’ve shifted from player to parent is I have more perspective now. Let me repeat that: I consider my parental perspective a dilemma. The reason I feel that way is because I’ve witnessed a handful of wonderful coaches and parents putting their time and energy into teaching kids how to play the game. I’ve also watched a lot of selfish adults putting their own interests ahead of all else. The former group is shrinking by the second.
Kids must learn how to win graciously and lose humbly. Adults must learn how to level set expectations.
Because, at the end of their playing days, every athlete should feel pride in what they’ve accomplished, not shame for what never was.