A Viral Situation

I love seeing my kids on the ball field /hockey rink, enjoying time with the other children and learning to give their best. Nothing can beat the team building experience and character building potential that sports offer.  It is admirable that the coaches volunteer their time and talents for the kids, especially after a long day at work.

Case in point: Dear daughter has the best coaches in the softball league (in my not-so-humble opinion). These guys have extreme patience, self-control and a nack for motivating flighty,whimsical, highly emotional 12 year old girls.My twirly-whirly ballerina/drama queen has learned more than how to swing a bat from these two gentlemen. She loves her team, loves the sport, and has more confidence than ever. I have learned a thing or two about being a more effective, more positive parent from their example. It would be an understatement to say that I am grateful for their contribution to youth sports in our community. I honestly appreciate the efforts of all the volunteer coaches in our city.

However, I do not enjoy listening to out of control parents belittle their own children for not having the perfect pitch or batting stance. It is especially difficult to watch as young kids are hammered with criticism in front of  family, friends and strangers, when all they want to do is play the game. I've experienced the frustration of watching a hockey coach play his three best players to the point of extreme physical and mental exhaustion, while very capable, well rested players sat on the edge of the bench, waiting for a chance to be part of a team. What's a mom to do in these situations?

Well, not long ago, this mom totally lost it at a 10 & U baseball game. This is the first age bracket for kid pitch ball, when the new pitchers just do their best not to bean the batter. The coach's son was trying his absolute best to make his dad, the coach, proud. His form was striking, his concentration intense, yet he still couldn't throw that perfect pitch. I don't think anyone short of a professional ballplayer could have pleased his coach that evening. The child was beaten down with criticism upon criticism as he suck it up and refused to let that tear fall down his cheek. Tiger Mom might have been proud of that dad. I, on the other hand, let him have it. Had to go to confession the next day.

Is this what I want my kids to learn from their experience on the field? Is it worth missing months of family dinners for my children to learn poor sportsmanship from grown men who argue vehemently with 16 year old umpires? What is the cost when my kids watch their own mother lose her composure at a little league event (or anywhere else for that matter)? Still, I do not want them to learn that our family quits when the world gets difficult.  
Something to pray about. 
I left it up to Him to provide direction. Sure enough, the answer was as plain as a soaking wet fleece (or should I say, fever drenched sheets). Do you know how long it takes for chicken pox to run through a family our size? About half a baseball season.  

Funny thing, though. Dear Daughter with the exemplary coaches, had the virus over the Easter break and never missed a game. The boys, on the other hand, had a delayed incubation period and are still home recuperating. We should be back in time for the last couple of games, but in the meantime we had some down time as a family to watch a few movies like Forever Strong. It gave us quite a bit to talk about. Because in our family, baseball is not a #1 priority. It is a means to grow closer to the real #1. I was glad to find out there are other sportsmen out there with the same priorities, putting the sports hero back in his proper place in our society.

Very Inspirational and Highly Recommended By Our Family:

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