April 26, 2017

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         In a recent Face Book post a local mom said, "Not that Parker will go on to be a college athlete; however, if he gets an opportunity, I hope it is because he is versatile. April has been crazy with soccer (3 times a week), baseball (2 times a week), 7th grade basketball (2 times a week) and spring league basketball (2 times a week)... and don't forget tournaments on weekends."

          She went on "I know some parents may say, you are over doing it."

          Well, this youngster is certainly busy, but if he's on board and his grades are satisfactory he's living a great life for a 12 year old. Critics probably wouldn't object if the activities were dance, theater and Spanish or some other combination.

          Point being it is important to give kids the chance to try more than one activity.

          A few years ago a friend told his son was really good at baseball, but baseball took too much of their time. That was disappointing!

          Parents need to listen. Eight, nine or ten years old kids aren't ready to choose a single sport or activity - they need to try as many as possible.

          Kids will let you know when they are not interested.

          When my number 2 was five he was overmatched at 40 pounds against 8 year olds and after awhile he said -"wrestle, wrestle, wrestle - lose, lose, lose."

          That was eye opening! TJ practiced the rest of the year but didn't compete. Later he fell in love with wrestling.

          There are many opportunities for kids these days and it is a shame when mom and dad don’t let their youngsters take advantage. Life lessons from outside activities plus school make for well rounded adults.

          We enjoyed a great winter with our oldest grandson excelling in wrestling. His team won the high school state championship and he placed in his weight class. A few weeks later he became a state champion in the Kansas Kids competition. This was all pretty special for me.

          Then last week I'm in Manhattan and Tate has a baseball game at four. When I get there he is not in the line up. Brady had warned me he might not play in the first game, so I settled in. Manhattan won the game 5-3. I talked to Tate between games and learned he wasn't starting game 2 either.

          Fact is he didn't play at all, but hustled after foul balls, cheered his team on and wasn't too upset after the game. He told me Manhattan had been swept earlier by the same team and his coach was playing to win.

          So he got the question I had asked his dad when Brady was an 8th grader after he didn't get to play in a football game.

          Would rather have played and lost or have not played but won both games?

          After some thought Tate smiled and said "both ways!"

          He said was "okay" with not playing because he knew the other players had earned the right to play.

          Life lessons learned for both of us on a day when I got watch my grandson NOT play in a baseball game! This too was special!

          I'm Steve Sauder.