Thursday, July 7, 2011

Organized Sports & Big Families

I thought I should share on this topic due to some questions from a dear friend of mine.:)  She asked how we participate in organized sports and keep our sanity!  That's not really what she said, but it can feel like you are losing your sanity some weeks.

We started Monica off in soccer when she was in Kindergarten.  I didn't grow up participating in organized sports, and neither did Daddy.  However, we thought she might enjoy getting out of doors and playing with other kids her age.   She loved it!  It wasn't painful to watch...you know...kids that won't leave your side because they're too shy, kids that won't leave the side of the coach because they're too afraid, kids playing rather than paying attention to what's going on.  She really did like playing soccer just like she enjoys it now.  Her skill level has improved over the years which is what she wanted.

We started Maria in soccer in Kindergarten also, and she liked it at first.  She was quick in the game and seemed to really enjoy herself, but something happened last year.  It seemed that all the other players on her team had shot way past her in terms of skill level, and she could tell.  So her confidence started to wane, and soon she started to flounder on the field.  She didn't like it anymore.   She was enduring the season!  I didn't push her to play this summer.

CONSOLIDATION
While the two girls were playing, Molly & Lucas were coming up the pipe in Kindergarten and Pre-K soccer.  Now this was PAINFUL!  Lucas was all over the place because he couldn't concentrate, and Molly...well, let's just say arms and legs were all over the field.  When we saw both of them holding hands with the coaches as they ran around the field, I thought I'd seen it all!  That was very PAINFUL to watch!

There are kids lying on the field.

I don't think he had a clue where to go!

Water & Snack Break!  Brother!

I don't think she had any intention of stopping the ball.

Come on...you can kick it.  That's right.  Easy does it.

I got hit.:(

Here you go.  Here's a beautiful blue ball!


Because both Monica and Maria were on 2 separate teams, I purposely had Molly held back a league to be on a team with Lucas.  We already had a practice and a game per week for Maria and Monica was up to two practices a week plus a game.  That was a bit of insanity, but we managed.  We didn't get to all of Monica nor Maria's games, but they were ok with that.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
We bought our first house in a tiny suburb of Minneapolis that was known for it's school district and quiet atmosphere.  Even though our taxes were high, we enjoyed being in a nice town on a quiet street.  We began soccer with this community which was very tight-knit, and it also had a very orthodox Catholic church and school which became our parish.  We built friendships, and our kids played with many of the kids from the Catholic school and the parish.  We got to know the parents in the town through the sports teams and games.  At that time the oldest girls were at a charter school, but we still had them play soccer in our town rather than in St. Paul because we wanted them to keep in touch with the kids we would most likely be around at the grocery store, church, and the parks.



IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT'S WHO YOU KNOW
Because we stuck around our little town building friendships, we were able to maintain some connections when we moved to a larger neighboring suburb.  I knew the president of the sports boosters because she was at our parish, and her daughter and Monica made their First Communion together.  I also befriended several other Catholic parents on the sidelines of the soccer fields.  We were also starting to gain a little extra attention every summer as we would show up on the fields with another baby in tow.  Because we got to know some of the coaches, we were able to request that Molly & Lucas be on the same team this year, and Daddy was a shoe-in for coaching their team.  We also started teaming up with other large families that had multiple kids in multiple sports for carpooling.  We think it's bad when we have 4 kids in a sport at the same time, but some of the parents have 4 kids in 4 DIFFERENT sports.

IF MAMA AIN'T HAPPY....
I chose soccer for the kids, but I also chose a dabbling into karate, tennis, ballet, gymnastics, theater, and art.  Of all of these things, soccer has stuck.  Mind you, Molly is currently trying her hand (or rather foot) at ballet while still playing soccer.  I have to be really psyched in order to register the kids for activities.  I also believe that you should get more bang for your buck....like 2 kids playing on the same team for a discounted price.  I ALWAYS meet the fee cap for sports when they all play the same thing.  It's great!  There are some cases when it pays to have a larger family.  Sometimes at least one of the kids will come up to me and ask if they can try X (fencing, unicycling, gun safety...ok, that one they will do but that's Daddy's area!) but I'll just flat out say, "No."  Am I stifling their creativity?  Am I missing out on the next  world's greatest fencing champion, parade participant, or Annie Oakley or One Shot Finch?  No!  Because if I have to drive ONE kid to Eagan Prairie (that's what we call Eagan and Eden Prairie because we never know where each of them is!) I ain't gonna be happy & that kid ultimately won't be either with a teed off Mama!

Alley Oop!


Just a little more bend.

Careful now.  No one said this had to be a risky sport.

I can do it myself!


So there you have it folks...how to survive organized sports with a brood!  And remember, sports really isn't all it's cracked up to be.  I honestly do believe that if the kids didn't have sports they would still become functioning adults...like me!:)

Faye Dunaway...Mommy Dearest


 

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