Why All Kids Should Play Sports

I’ve been through a lot this year. I know. I know. Everyone has … 2020 has been a shit show at best. A good shit show, but a shit show nonetheless. I’ve had some major personal issues—surgeries, deaths, disappointments—and I’m a food and travel writer or I was before restaurants shut down and travel, I mean what even is that? And so, this year has forced me NO, let’s be positive here … 

2020 sucked but I wasn’t trapped in a foxhole, under enemy fire, with rotting feet and nothing to eat

And so, this year has presented me with the opportunity to explore other things (and drink more wine and complain a lot). And I have learned a lot. About me. Faced some shit I’d avoided. Let go of tears and emotions I held on for far too long (yes, the wine helped), found the courage to fear less and hope more … But here I am, fall on the horizon and I find myself wondering just what the hell to do next. 

No college football! No soccer. Whatever will I do with my time?

Not too long ago I heard someone say that no one should care about sport(s) … “it is, after all, just a sport.” Really? I beg to differ. Because sports are not just dumb games that “no one should care about.” Time spent playing, watching, coaching … it’s engaging and it’s important. It can be some of the most raw connections we make with one another. I’m lucky I was an athlete. And I am blessed to have children that are also athletes. Not just because of their impending success, but because of the failures. And even more so, for all the friendships made on the field, on the track, on the court — for the friends that carried me through many of my younger years, and the ones that will carry them. The friends that were foes on the field.

“Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.” ~ Jesse Owens

Growing up competitive athletes, both Eric and I inevitably turned into huge sports fans. OK. Wait. I should clarify, because speaking for myself, actually I’m not a big fan of baseball, golf, tennis, car racing or hockey (and don’t even get me started on softball, cycling, or speed walking or GASP!! bass fishing). So really, I suppose it’s more that I’m a fan of good competition — a fan of the fight, if you will. Why? Because competition is fierce. And when you watch a competitor’s face, you understand that it’s far more than a game. 

Sports — be it football or the steeplechase (or God forbid, bass fishing) — can start a conversation. It can feed Sunday night’s dinner-table talk, Monday morning water cooler conversation and multitudes of “If only” disclaimers across the Internet. Sports can keep you up late glued to post-game commentary … can call you from your slumber early in the a.m. for more commentary. Why? Again, because it is more than a game.

Sports can be a friendly yet fervent diversion from the mundane and the games we play, the races we run, the fish we catch (I guess) help us make connections with those we otherwise might not. Sports also allow us to dream about the “what could have been if only” not to mention the “what should have been if only.” 

We are sports fans because we are fans of life and always, always, giving your heart and soul to anything you believe in.

So again, I am lucky to have been an athlete. And I am blessed to have children that are athletes — because through all their victories, all their disappointments, they will learn. And they will cherish these days along with the friends that stand beside them — win, or lose. And that is why all kids should do a sport … even if it’s with bait and tackle. 

Amen babe! By the way … I’ll grab the wine, the brie (shhh), some changes of clean socks, I’ll turn the game on and we can sit in the foxhole together.

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