This week, many of us learned that middle school sports were being cut. There were many who have voiced,right here on the Patch, how disappointed they are with this decision. Many voiced their anger, and others were indifferent.
I have two school-aged children, both play Little League Softball and Baseball. My daughter a sixth grader in middle school started her years being very much an introvert. Last year we signed her up for Softball. My husband and I were in awe of her confidence shortly after becoming part of a team. She has always been a hard worker and excelled academically, but playing a sport did something to her confidence and her approach to life in general that sold me, as a parent, on the importance of organized sports. She recently expressed her interest in joining the track team and I am heartbroken that she may not have that opportunity for another few years and hopefully by then, the confidence and desire to join the team will still be there.
Children can be extremely egocentric. Team sports keep their egos in check. They quickly see that everyone gets to play and they begin thinking as a team, not as individuals. They learn to celebrate other player’s successes because they understand how it benefits the entire team.
They learn patience and the importance of practicing to be better instead of tossing in the towel when things don’t go right. They learn persistence and problem solving and even negotiation skills!
Most importantly, they are surrounded by positive mentors - a priceless gift to those who have no parents, are in foster care, or out on the streets after school hours unsupervised, bored and looking for "something to do."
Dedicated, skilled coaches can have an amazing impact on a child help to keep our kids focused, driven, competitive, and SAFE. You’ll see that kids sometimes respond better to their coach’s direction than their own parents. There is a level of respect, and they continue calling them “coach” long after they’ve played for them! I see this with my own husband when we bump into adults today that he once coached.
Instead of pointing fingers at a group of people faced with a very difficult task, let’s use our passion in a productive manner to come up with a solution to this problem. Are there grants available out there? Do we have volunteer coaches? Fundraising? (In my opinion should be mandatory for all team members). Is there any way we can ask parents if they are willing to contribute financially to the sports, understanding that many are without means, instead of removing it all together?
There are some local meetings that will be taking place to constructively come together to find solutions. This platform here, and those meetings should not be used to express anger, or to vent or point fingers at city council members, school committee members, or our government in general. Let’s use our passion to benefit our kids. Teamwork is the ability to work together as a group toward a common vision/goal, even if the vision or goal becomes extremely blurry at times.