Sunday, September 23, 2007


The results of this week's basketball tryouts got posted tonight. The middle boy ended up on a team with some kids he knows, so he's happy. I know and like some of the parents, so I'm happy too.

The youngest is making the transition from in-house to a traveling team this year, also playing with some friends. His fancy new shoes presumably made the difference. In any event, traveling basketball it will be for him as well.

What this means for me (the Lovely Bride is in class on weekends, so I use "me" advisedly), is approximately 60 basketball games between the middle of November and the end of March, with another, I don't know, let's call it 70 practices. Throw in driving time and it's better than 200 hours of basketball-related activities over these five months. I like basketball well enough, but still.

Of course, this is self-inflicted. I could refuse to let them play, or at least make them play at less competitive and less time-consuming levels. I don't, though, something that's prompted me to consider my motivations.

If my boys stay with their favorite sports and don't get hurt, they can all probably play competitively through high school. It helps that many of our school district's teams have inclusive rostering policies and try to find a way to let as many kids participate as possible. That's a good thing. If sports really are the character building, we should build as many characters as we can.

At the same time, I don't expect any of them to get athletic scholarships to college, much less play professionally, notwithstanding any idle fantasies I may have in my more desperate moments. I know some parents of an elementary school child who fully anticipate a free ride at a Division I school followed by a lucrative professional career. Why? Because they're crazy. So that's not my reason for letting my kids play.

I do believe sports can build character, whatever that means. That's not a necessary outcome of playing, of course, as evidenced by the behavior of far too many pro athletes. With good coaches and good teammates, on the other hand, sports can provide opportunities to learn how to win gracefully, and how to lose gracefully. They can teach the importance of practice and hard work and perseverance. They can do all that, however, with far less playing time than my kids are getting. So that's not my reason either.

I guess the reason I let them play so much is because they want to. When my kids were little, I would come home from work and horse around with them, peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek and everything else I could think of or invent, not because I liked the games but because I loved watching them play. Now, instead of those games, they make lay-ups and serve aces and score goals and get hits. Before I know it they'll be grown and gone, and then these hours and hours of basketball, of sports, will be hours I will have spent doing what I love most, watching my children play.


Anonymous said...

"I do believe sports can build character"

You sure are a character. Did you play a lot of sports??

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Snag. You are going to be running like crazy, but I totally understand why you're ok with that. I wish blue kid was more into sports -- but, it's not in the cards. He's great at golf -- can drive a ball 300 yards. So, of course The Skimmer has scholarship fantasies wafting through his head. But, blue kid's just not that into it.

He's more into "going to concerts." And I don't think there's a scholarship for that.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

If there was, BG, I'd have aced it already, and I never would have graduated.

See, it's posts like this that make me wonder about Snag.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't every Snag post make you wonder about Snag?

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't every Snag post make you wonder about Snag?"

Exactly! Including ones that Snag hasn't even written!

Adorable Girlfriend said...

I hope UC doesn't read this. He probably has issues with Daddy bloggers too.

Chuckles said...

I can testify to the sports and character. I learned how to suffer in silence while on a Little League team. I got so enured to pain that I hardly even bruised when I was pegged by a pitch which happened two or three times a game.

Damn that is a lot of driving, Snag.

Anonymous said...

"I learned how to suffer in silence while on a Little League team."

I learned how to suffer in silence at parochial school and the dentist.

Snag... are you traveling now? Where's the moose love? Where's the new post!?! Don't try to act like you have a busy life.

FYI- Neebles is back. You may make jokes now.

Snag said...

Chuckles, I'd love to have a beer with your old coach.

I don't know where all this sporting fanaticism is coming from. I was pretty much a "going to concerts" kid myself.