Tag Archives: first sport

The Unique World of Kids and Sports

2 Sep

     As a mom of a 9 year old boy, I’ve been widely exposed to the worlds of little league, basketball, and soccer; as the wife of a sports-lover, I have seen my husband try to teach my son such other sports as golf and tennis. He’s even tried gymnastics, since one of his best friends was really good at it! And though I am not a sports fanatic myself, I have loved watching my little boy develop into a well-rounded athlete. I love watching other kids play, too. It’s fun seeing their faces beam with pride when they make a great play, or watching as they learn to play as a team. I’m sure any parents who have kids that play sports can relate.
     In truth, I never fully expected to be so “into” watching him play-I was not brought up in a sports-watching family. Nor have I ever excelled in athletics myself ( not for lack of trying, which I will talk about in my next post). But kids’ sports really do hold my interest; one of most entertaining parts of having been brought into the fold of all of these kids’ sports games, is witnessing the silly things that kids do. Things that you would never see happen in pro sports game: Piles of kids diving for the ball in the infield; Boys sliding along like skaters, instead of running, on the slippery school basketball court; girls taking 10 putts to get their balls in the mini-golf hole; my son, at4, having fits every time he had to put on shin guards and cleats for soccer.
     The first sport my son Jonah tried, at 2, was golf, thanks to his dad; we’ve played a LOT of mini-golf since. My husband has been pretty good about trying to get Jonah to hold the club, putt, and play  right way, and he’s been receptive; but I’ve noticed many kids aren’t too concerned with that. This results in lots of do-over shots. And kids who just drag the ball along the green with their clubs to get it into the hole. Or kids who do the exact opposite, swinging the club like they’re at the driving range, endangering their fellow golfers. 
     Jonah’s first team sport was soccer. He played for2 seasons, and the whole time, all he did was run around the field, away from the action, because he was afraid of being kicked. Whenever the ball was in play, all the kids seemed to crowd around it, kicking each other or piling on top of it in their attempts to protect it. And there was one kid who would pick up the ball at least 2 times per game, no matter how many times they told him not to. 
     Next came baseball. Tee-ball was a bit painful, in that a no-hitter is definitely not a good thing, when the kids really can’t hit any of the balls; but their sheer cuteness made up for it. For the first few games, and some after, whenever a ball landed in the field, ALL the kids would go for it, resulting in pile-ups (the pile up seems to be a common occurrence in kids’ sports). And there were always those kids who were more interested in playing in the dirt in the outfield, than playing in the game. Nowadays, I’m surprised at how emotional kids can be when they lose a game. Ever heard the saying “There’s no crying in baseball”? Well there’s definitely crying in little league. I’ve seen benches full of 8/9 year old boys in tears over losing “the big game”. 
     But perhaps the most entertaining to watch has been basketball. I’ve seen a little boy who didn’t really get the team concept, walk off of the court mid-game, several times, to ask his mom for snacks and water. I’ve witnessed many kids being complete ball hogs, doing fast breaks every time they got possession of the ball, and trying to shoot instead of using their teammates. One of my son’s teammates would actually try to shoot 3-pointers every time he got the ball–sometimes with success, most times not.  There was even one boy who seemed to have his own offensive strategy; every time he got the ball and he couldn’t get away from kids on the other team who were trying to block him, he’d just throw himself down and fall on the floor.
     And one day a funny thought popped into my head: What if some of the same things that happened in kids’ sports actually happened in pro-sports? What if Nick Markakis had to run to the woods to pee in between innings? Or if Adam Jones’ dad had to help him tuck in his jersey, or double-knot his shoe laces before the game? Can you imagine David Beckham suddenly forgetting his position and having to leave the field to ask the coach what to do?Or Kobe Bryant’s mom coming to wipe his sniffly nose during a time-out? What about Phil Mickelson having to fish his ball out of every water-hazard? Or Tiger Woods swinging his driver around like a crazy baton or pretending it’s a baseball bat?  
     In any case, watching kids play sports is truly a unique experience. You never know what’s gonna happen. And you won’t know unless you see it for yourself.