We've never been the kind of parents who think their little darlings need to be involved in every single activity. And, we aren't the kind of parents who put their lives (and relationship) on hold for their children. In fact, I tend to think that just because I'm a parent doesn't mean that I don't have my own activities to do and that my own activities are just as important as any my kids are involved in.
So, when our kids were little, they had 2 activities. Andy tried soccer and baseball and later basketball. That's it. In fact, all were at different times of the year, so we usually had only ONE activity at a time. And, I really don't think it "ruined" Andy at all (so many people were just flabber-gasted that we only allowed are kids to do ONE activity, after all, how could he ever become a "star" if we only did one thing!) Anyway, Andy's a well grounded individual with a pretty good head on his shoulders. He enjoys organized sports and activities, but also knows how to entertain himself and doesn't have to be on the go 24/7. (And since I'm saying good things about him, he'll probably do something really dumb and stupid.)
But he's not super competitive person either. He enjoys sports for the companionship and camaraderie and isn't driven by the need to always win or the need to be the absolute best, the superstar. In my mind, that's a good thing, because for most of society, sports involvement ends with High School. There are many many people who make sports so important that it excludes many other activities that life gives us. These people can't enjoy the simple things and they don't know what to do or how to act when their sporting life is over.
So, we believe in balance. And, that's what we've taught our children, balance.
Sports in Colby was...a very negative experience for Andy as a player and for Kev and I as parents. There, sports are only for the best. Colby must be the best. There is no room for second best and very little room for enjoyment of the activity in itself.
For example. Colby has never had a good football team. For years, they've had losing season after losing season. And, they've taken that out on the coaches. In the last 20 years, they've had 12 coaches. That's less than 2 years per coach. But, year after year, the community expects a winning team, refusing to acknowledge that it takes time and lots of nurturing to have a winning team.
Andy went out for Basketball at Colby. There were 30 or more boys out for Basketball. Three coaches, 30 boys, one gym. What it meant was several boys never got to actually practice plays or shooting. They ran stairs day after day after day. It was frustrating for Andy, who wanted to play and have fun, but he wasn't a star, so he didn't get to play or even have fun.
That has changed with a change to a new school. Bucklin has 14-16 boys out for the team. They all work and play together. They've welcomed Andy to the team. They are working with him, teaching him plays, giving him the opportunity to play and to BE a part of the team. He's attended 3 practices and has had 4 games in the 2 weeks we've been there. He's played in 3 games. Last night, he made 6 points during his game. He was so excited and thrilled to be a part of the game.
I was impressed in the game I got to watch him play in . The coach coached him. Knowing he didn't know the plays and wasn't sure where to be, the coach talked him through some plays, encouraged him, and gently corrected him. The coach did that with all the boys, teaching them, not ridiculing them when they made mistakes, which is what we've seen before.
Bucklin has an excellent team. They are winning games and boy, do they play a physical game. Much more physical than what we are used to watching. And yet, they are having fun. Everyone on the court was having fun, playing a game.
Watching made me glad we moved. Kev and I enjoyed watching the games, we connected in a way we never did in Colby. It made me happy to see my son be happy about being a part of a team and feeling like he was a part of a team. That's what he was missing before. Yep, for him, right now, it's a good change.