I was in a meeting the other day in which we went around the table and introduced ourselves to each other. We were meant to describe our personal, non-work lives, and some people named hobbies, or told about their recent vacations, but 60% or so, when asked what they did outside of work, said they drove their kids to their sports and soccer obligations, and were slaves to their children’s sports schedules.
I’ve found it’s nearly impossible to invite friends with traditionally schooled children to do things spontaneously on weekends– have a picnic or go hiking on a beautiful day, go out for dinner. “Sorry, Tommy’s got baseball” or “Can’t today, Melanie’s soccer practice” is the inevitable reply, Fortunately homeschooled kids seem to do a lot less organized sport and seem less invested in conforming with suburban social expectations. If you live in the suburbs, participation in team sports seems to be all the social activity on offer, for parents and siblings too.
What an astonishing loss of life. Is it worth it to lose all that time with family and friends? The losses are steep. In a post on Mom’s Team, a blog for “Sports Parents”, Jeannette Twomey lists the things her family has missed:
“Over the years, we saw one family activity after another bow its head to youth sports. Dinner at home, reading before bedtime, visits to grandma’s house, household chores, games in the backyard, picnics, weekend jaunts into the countryside, camping trips, school vacations – all casualties of the children’s sports schedule.”
The rest of the family generally bears the brunt of one kid’s involvement in sports. How much lost time together, how many things missed? And why value one kid’s time over the other kids’ time? It boggles the mind.
Generally team sports are not lifelong sports. You don’t see 50 year old men playing soccer or hockey. Lifelong sports are things like skiing, tennis, dancing, yoga running–70 year olds are still doing these. And the whole family can do them together.