Last Saturday, my twins (daughter and son) played in their first basketball game and I wrote about it my previous post. It was not a good experience for my kids or ME for that matter (Click here to read it if you haven’t already)! It had nothing to do with the program itself, which is awesome by the way, but everything to do with me, my children and my expectations of them. I’ve said to a few readers that it would be better this week because dad will be with them this time. Well….I was wrong; it was BAD. Really BAD… like Donald Trump’s latest speeches, BAD. And the game ended with me running out of gym searching for my daughter, who ran off of the court seeming to have disappeared into the thin air. She was hiding in the bathroom. When we finally found our missing daughter, we loaded up the car and I could no longer hold back! The waterworks of frustration spilled and the words came shortly after. Frustrated because my son and daughter are struggling and mom could not help. Essentially because daddy is the one who coaches and mom needs to tend to the younger brother and sister.
During the dreaded ride home, I explained to my husband that playing a full court, 5 on 5 game with whistles and buzzers on 8 foot goals is too much for OUR children right now. As if, my son’s twirling around in circles not knowing if he’s on defense or offense and only touching the ball once because his experienced teammates realize he has no clue what he’s doing. I hoped that my daughter hanging on his leg the whole game (with her pink fall jacket on) and running off of the court in tears wasn’t enough evidence. I would cringe every time I heard one of the players uncles yelling at him, asking if he was slow (mentally delayed) or something every time he did the opposite of what he’d instructed. You see, I’ve coached children this age before and learned that all children are on different levels and need certain drills, training, and attention before you put them in a full blown game. It crushes their confidence when they can’t even touch the ball, have no idea what to do with it, and shot gets no where near the end of the net let alone the rim! The experience becomes traumatic and they will lose interest before they could even improve. *sigh*
I really wanted to believe that it would be better today. Maybe I was just trying to be optimistic because I didn’t think any experience could be worse than last weeks. I mean, what’s worse than parents yelling at their kids from the sideline, rolling their eyes at the clock keeping mom (me), my kids crying and running off the court and a leader in the program telling you that they think they still give out ‘Most Improved’ awards. Allowing our kids to play in these games were like throwing them in the deep water for the first time and telling them to swim. Watching them gasp for air as they bob up and down with the fear of death in their eyes, bound to drown… I guess there’s still this microscopic fragment of hope that my kids will eventually develop an early interest in mommy and daddy’s favorite sport. My son is still clueless but at least he’s staying in the game. As a mom and former coach, it’s very difficult to watch this happen and the only thing I can do is try to encourage them and practice later.
Maybe I looking to deeply into thus but I just feel as parents, we must strive to be the best advocates for our children (especially at this young age) not humiliate them. Our children rely on us to always have their best interest and if we get caught up in what we desire for them, without even considering their gifts, talents and interests, we deprive them of reaching their full potential. I don’t want to encourage them to become professional quitters like their mama has been said to be, but I think we do need to teach them that it’s okay to postpone certain things in your life. I have no idea what we are going to do about our twins because it has to be a mutual agreement between my husband and I, however, I’m pretty sure from the tone of this post I’ve made my opinion crystal clear that postponing could be the best course of action. Where’s a parenting manual when you need one!
If you’re a parent I would love to here your opinion on the topic. Share (in the comment section below) some of your experiences of having your children compete in athletics between the ages of 5-7.