Why youth sports aren’t in the near future for my family.
My three year-old did not play soccer this summer. And she’s not going to play soccer next summer, either.I’m sure this question has been burning in your brain for a while now. You just can’t sleep until you learn if that brilliant sports columnist — has he won a Pulitzer prize yet? Why not? — is going to sign his toddler daughter up for soccer.
The answer, again, is no. Let me explain my reason why in a classic three point essay. (When I was in school, we called this method of writing prompts/essays the “Shirley method”, if I recall correctly. Why? Because in American public education, every instructional method has to have both a lame name and a person who trademarked it and uses the royalties to buy vacation homes in the Caribbean, while the teachers forced to implement their stupid lesson material eat Ramen noodles in the break room. But I digress.)
Point A: The Time Commitment
Point A: The time commitment.I know what you’re thinking: The games are only a couple hours every weekend. That may technically be true when considering the scheduled games, but when you add in the process it takes to get a toddler and a baby out the door, it quickly spirals out of control.
After getting them both dressed, and then changing the baby’s outfit after they expel bodily fluids all over their first outfit, telling your toddler to put their shoes on, changing the baby’s diaper, helping your toddler put the shoes back on the right feet, and answering the question “Why?” about four dozen times, the real time cost becomes clear.
“A couple hours every weekend” easily turns into “The brief window of time between falling asleep Friday night and realizing you’re back at the office Monday morning, hearing your coworkers ask how your weekend was.”
Point B: Parents are horrible at games.
Point B: Parents are horrible at games.high school and the occasional middle school game for a local daily paper. Even at pre-school age games, it’s the same.
There are parents who just feel the need to yell at someone. Sometimes their kids are the recipients of the vocal onslaught; the little tykes are choking back tears as mommy and/or daddy yell at them about their footwork and tell them to get their heads in the game. Or it’s the ref who’s blind and always making bad calls.
These parents don’t typically yell at the coach, but they will repeat the same critical comments every game to whomever was stupid enough to be in their poisonous parent proximity.
I know encountering these parents is inevitable, because I have at least one child that loves sports. Waiting a few years to sign up for organized sports gives me a bit of a reprieve from this nauseating routine.
Point C: My daughter hasn’t yet realized how lame her Dad is.
This is where I get sappy. My daughter is at that age where she’s over the moon one minute and crying, yelling and stomping her foot the next. Why? Because she’s a female. Ha ha! I only kid. (I know not all women are like that, but I think it’s important to make jokes about genders to keep the politically correct police from winning.)
While toddlers have their ups and downs, my daughter still thinks it’s fun to play with Dad. She wants to play with Dad. She will have at least 10 years in school to play organized sports, more than enough time to realize there are a lot more fun ways to spend your time than running around the house, playing tag and wrestling with Dad. But she hasn’t realized that yet. Enrolling her in a 3-5 soccer league probably wouldn’t change that, but who am I to tempt fate?
We have so little free time right now, and I’m not willing to share her yet. Call me selfish if you want. You may think I’m at risk of inhibiting her social skills, but she has a lot of friends and cousins close to her age she plays with on a regular basis.
(If my daughter grows up to be a hermit that collects toenails and growls at the mailman, you can say to me, “I told you so.”)
I’m sure that soon my daughter, my wife and I will be ready for her to start in organized sports. But for now, the obligations, the irritating parents, the realization that there’s a lot more to do than play with Dad, it can all wait.
This column was originally published Nov. 8, 2018 in the Republic-Monitor.