Today I’m looking at signing up one of my boys for Little League, but I swore I wouldn’t do this again last year.
Last year we had one boy on the swim team. Not only did he have practice every day, but he had long swim meets on Saturdays that could easily take the whole day.
We had one boy in tennis. Not only did he have practices everyday in a very inconvenient location, but on Mondays he had matches all over the county.
We had another boy in baseball. He had practices twice a week and games twice a week. He had to be driven to everything.
I put my two little ones in swim lessons last summer, and that’s when I thought I was going to tear my hair out. I swore that this year, I would make all the boys go in a room and figure it out themselves. They could all do one sport together. But this year, they’re digging their heels in again, adamantly pursuing different sports.
I was going to let the baseball go until I realized that the boy that wants it is the same boy that always does his chores, does all of his homework by himself, practices piano without being asked, and reads to his little brother and sister before they go to bed. And then I felt guilty.
But I really struggle with this. While so many parents seem to think it’s the most normal thing in the world to spend a good chunk of their time in the car, I really don’t like driving around all the time.
For one, there’s a lot that needs to be done at home. There is dinner to make and gardens to water and floors to swept and children who need help with their homework.
For two, I hate red lights.
I’m also concerned about our sports centric culture. Are we overvaluing sports? Do we spend too much money and too much time pursuing them? Is there any relationship between my boy’s self esteem and how well he did in a basketball game the night before?
Not putting them in sports is problematic too though. For one, my boys are happy to spend their entire summer in the basement switching between the X-Box, the Wii, and Netflix. And if we didn’t have these things, they would just be going to another boy’s house and play them there.
And I do see the value of sports too. The boys need the physical outlet, they learn how to push themselves, and they learn to develop team work.
But sometimes I think we should just buy a farm.
That way at least, they would be increasing our assets instead of decreasing them.
But then again, I really hate the smell of manure.
What do you think? Does our culture overvalue sports?
What sports has your family done and how have you maintained balance?