This is the beginning of a new parenting and marriage series in which I’m going to give some advice on what I would do over and what I would do differently if I could go back, as a wife and as a mother.
I’ve been married almost 30 years and have two polar opposite grown children.
ONE ALL-STAR TEAM IS ENOUGH!
If I could do it over, I would not buy in to the hype of “all-star” athletic programs. Let me be clear, some are worth the money and truly can make your child a better athlete.
But if you choose to get into a program, don’t let them talk you into more than one team per year.
I would never put my child on more than one all-star team a year (excluding his or her school team). Both of my kids got the point in their sports where everyone wanted them on their “teams”. Great problem to have, right? They have so far surpassed our highest expectations and we are proud of their high school and collegiate accomplishments. But I would never put my daughter on a school team, then 2-3 all-star cheerleading teams a year on top of that. And that’s exactly what I did year after year.
We allowed our son be on his school team, then be on just about every all-star wrestling team known to man (or in the State of NC). One school team and if you can afford it, one all-star team is plenty, plus homework,
and more importantly spiritual life, family time and just being a kid.
I talked myself into believing I was giving them something special, keeping them busy and out-of-trouble.
But really, it was about me and my pride and you know where that go’est…the fall
I didn’t get to be on teams like that. I took dance classes, took gymnastics, theater arts, like a normal kid. I was not a star in anything. I was a good part of any ensemble.
But MY kids were stars and I say with all humility, “I went to the dark side”. I was full of myself for way too long and if they failed, I took it very hard. And I was hard on them. I was inserting myself in their lives by interfering with coaches, parents and even becoming jealous of other children’s accomplishments.
Eventually, I pulled back from the dark side, and I salvaged some of my friendships and some of my good reputation. But along the way, we were not financially stable for over 17 years trying to “give” them everything. I finished college late and I was a young bride. We took out a second mortgage so I could just not work and finish the degree. Great idea? Yes, I got done and my career trajectory has been upward ever since. But when my husband got laid off, which has happened to thousands of Americans, we couldn’t pay both mortgages and lost our house.
So we chose to lose our home and not take our kids off of all their extra teams and they knew it. It wasn’t worth it. You can say, “But what if they get a college scholarship out of that sacrifice?” #1: THOSE ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN! But one of my kids did get one and the first semester, he blew his knee out (on top of already having had a shoulder surgery and a broken wrist), he became very depressed and was in constant pain and quit the University altogether.
So your child might get a scholarship, but then he or she will have to keep it. And non-revenue collegiate sports like wrestling are cutthroat about getting rid of you if you aren’t well.
I used to yell that to my son as he wrestled and it sure felt good when he dominated hundreds of matches. It didn’t feel very good when his college wrestling coach didn’t show him any mercy. And he couldn’t afford to. He had a roster to keep healthy and hopefully winning to save his own neck.
I get it now looking back. I am not angry with that coach.
So if your kids play sports at a high level, don’t drink the Koolaid. Pay what you can afford. If the kid really wants to be the best at anything, he or she will seek out plenty of free help and opportunities. If they do that, they will probably appreciate the wins and accolades more in the long run.
What ‘s the moral… I’d do it again but on a much smaller, affordable level. I salvaged my relationship with my daughter and I’m working on my son. Kids have to know what they do off the mat or the field is what is truly important to you.
I can’t go back. But if you are in it now, pull back and follow the light.
Run from the dark side. Love, HauteAngel