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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Kids and Sports/Did you play sports when you were a kid?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments My oldest son, going into fifth grade, started "real" football (e.g. with pads and tackling) this week. He's had practice every night for two and a half hours...all conditioning...and comes off the field with a smile on his face. I'm surprised, honestly, as sports (he's played just about everything) for him are more about hanging out with his friends than anything. My nine year old, on the other hand, he wants to WIN. And he is upset if he doesn't. But he follows sports with an intense amount of passion. I almost had to restrain him from taking on an entire section of Pirates fan in PNC after the Pirates beat the Brewers once. My youngest, age six, on the other hand, could not care less about sports. This year, halfway through the t-ball season, his coach told him he should pay attention. He said, "T-Ball stinks" walked off the field, and never returned. I have to give some credit...walking off the t-ball field takes balls. So...in short...all three of my kids have different responses to sports. My youngest, by the way, wants to sign up for some sort of martial arts, so maybe that's his thing. We'll see.

I grew up playing sports through about eighth grade. I was pretty good at baseball and decent at basketball because I was tall. Football wasn't my thing...all that yelling and grunting or whatever. I stopped caring in about eighth grade and disappointed my dad big time...my lack of enthusiasm showed through in my play. Then I discovered punk rock and public transportation and didn't glance again at sports until my early twenties.


Should kids play sports? What if they don't?
Did you play sports as a kid? What did you get out of it? What sucked about it?

Three quick points:

* At my oldest son's football practice for some reason the "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer" special kept popping into my head. I'm not kidding. Remember all the manly, testosterone-ridden dads at the "reindeer games" who wanted their kids to dominate? There were a lot of dads on the same of the field doing the same thing. That place with drippin' with manliness, and it wasn't pretty.

* There must be some sort of rule that youth football coaches all must stand below 5ft8in and weigh at least 300 pounds.

* I just want my kids to have fun and find something they love to do. I don't buy the whole "sports builds character" thing for everyone, nor do I buy that participating in sports causes future success. I think there may be some correlational impact, e.g. kids who participate in sports may also do well in school, but I don't think that happens all the time and I don't think sports CAUSES the kids to do well in school. I know the high school sports associations push the academic benefits but I'm skeptical. I see too many former town football stars working at the local gas station, trying to retain their high school glories, to believe that high school sports are going to propel most kids into academic success and/or college.


message 2: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) I played little league baseball when I was about 8 or 9. I enjoyed it, but I stopped because I was a fat kid who wasn't athletic enough.

Kids should be encouraged to pursue interests, whether it's sports or the arts or dance or music. You can't expect your boy to love baseball because you love baseball; for all you'd know, he may love lacrosse or soccer, and if that's the case, encourage that. I can't tell you how many parents I've spoken to who express disappointment because their son plays soccer, and not football; swallow that disappointment and embrace their loves as well. And don't be one of these ridiculous parents who push their kids to overachieve, only to have them flop miserably as adults. RA probably remembers the horror story that was Todd Marinovich.

I'd love for my daughter to play soccer and basketball - something tells me she's going to be as tall as me - but she seems to love to dance, so we're going to enroll her in dance classes, more along the lines of modern/contemporary/hip-hop than classical or ballet. I think she'll thrive in that kind of environment.

message 3: by Heidi (last edited Aug 06, 2009 07:43AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments While my friends were busy playing team cabbage ball and soccer (which I did recreationally - i.e., I was never on a team, I'd just play pick up), I was learning gymnastics and dance - ballet, tap, jazz, modern. I wanted to play sports, but never could because I spent my weekends traveling back and forth between parents' homes. I took dance and gymnastics until I moved from N.O. to Houston during the summer before my 8th grade year. I didn't pick up a sport again until I moved to Little Rock and started taking martial arts... and I did that for about 10 years. Now I just play kickball. :)

message 4: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Team cabbage ball? Can't you people afford real balls down south? You have to use vegetables?

message 5: by Heidi (last edited Aug 06, 2009 05:57AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments Cabbage ball was actually pretty fun. We didn't play with a cabbage - just a large ball that was soft, but just firm enough that it could be caught and tossed without the aid of a glove (I typically played softball without a glove for that reason). I'll see if I can find a picture. There's not much info about cabbage ball on the internet. BRB. It's native to the New Orleans area. When I moved out of New Orleans, I asked my new PE teachers/coaches if they had a cabbage ball team. They looked at me like I was crazy and made me repeat the question.

message 6: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments Here's a picture I found for scale:

message 7: by Kevin (last edited Aug 06, 2009 05:59AM) (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments ok, my short and long answer:

yes, kids should play sports

i think kids should def play sports IF they want to. not because dad is a frustrated non-athlete who wants to live vicariously through their kids. sports promote lots of positive things such as: fun, health, cooperation, dedication, loyalty, teamwork, effort, etc.

what sports should not promote is: selfishness, maximum time commitment, win at all cost attitude, premium on expensive gear, etc

i say that when a child is young let them try as many sports as they want (within common sense of not overloading the parent or child) and then as they get a bit older have them narrow down to a couple. why not try gymnastics, baseball, soccer, basketball or others and then decide to concentrate on football and baseball. i like to give a kid a break between sports seasons to just be a kid.

oh yeah - any "all star" team is the devil. it gives kids a false sense of their abilities, takes them away from playing with "regular" friends, extends seasons way too long, gives them an elitist attitude, costs loads on travel and such and overall is a joke designed by parents who think their status in life is lifted because Quentin plays right field on the 8-9yr old Town & County All Star team from Sow's Ear, AR

as for me playing sports - i was a baseball junkie as a boy. we didn't have much else available. only the rich kids in town played other sports (at the Y League)such as football and basketball. nothing else was available for anyone. i played sandlot ball when the season was over until winter and then again in the spring until it started again. i didn't play any sports in high school because i always had a job and also spent much time with the athlete's girlfriends while they were busy toiling away on the fields. i got much more into sports (basketball, volleyball, softball) after i got married and still play on 3 diff softball teams.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I had my kids try any activity that they wanted to try. I did not however let them quit once they started. Once they chose to do something I told them they had a commitment to their coach and teammates to finish the season, once the season was over if they never wanted to go back they didn't have to.

As the kids got older and the time commitments got greater, the choices of what they could do became narrower. Then they had to make the choice of what they wanted to continue in.

The main thing to remember is to let the kids decide what they want to do, not what Mom or Dad want them to do. My son after playing soccer for 9 years and playing on some higher level teams walked off the field after the spring season a little over a year ago and said I don't want to play soccer anymore, I'm going to play football. It was a hard decision for him, and probably harder for his mother and I as I had coached him quite a few years, and you get to know the other parents pretty well along the way. My only question to him was are you sure? He was, so now he plays football.

My point being that the child needs to decide what they like.

The other aspect of sports is that if done properly the child should learn sportsmanship, teamwork(team sports), what competition is about and hopefully some self esteem.

Does it mean that playing sports is going to make you a success in the future - nope, but it should lay down some groundwork for being a team player, the competitive nature of people in the business world, and respect for others.

message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments some very good thoughts so far in this thread

message 10: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17305 comments Mod
I tried all sorts of sports during recess and gym class. It was hell. I tried things like Brownies and piano after. Also hell.

I've always preferred the company of books to anything else. Go ahead, judge me.

message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 06, 2009 08:40AM) (new)

Sally wrote: "I tried all sorts of sports during recess and gym class. It was hell. I tried things like Brownies and piano after. Also hell.

I've always preferred the company of books to anything else. Go..."

Who are we to judge Sally?

message 12: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments I missed the whole sports gene, as I've probably said here before. Any time I ever participated in anything roughly resembling sports, it was under duress of some kind (gym class, pressure from kids in the neighborhood, etc.).

Want to bore the crap out of me? Talk about sports.

The oldest of my two daughters was into softball when she was about 11 or 12. I went to the games and cheered her on as a good dad as much as my crazy, stupid work schedule would allow. I hated being around those obnoxious parents who yelled at umpires or opposing teams -- or worse yet, their own kids -- in connection with things that were happening on the field. Absolutely hated it!

As I see it, if kids aren't having fun and feeling good about themselves, then they should not be forced to do it.

But that's just me and my apathy for athletics.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I was in band.

message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments jai alai - who the heck actually plays that?

message 15: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments i have never heard of anyone actually playing it aside from the betting pro game

message 16: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments i have learned something about sports today

message 17: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I've always assumed this is Larry's favorite sports team...


message 18: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments Believe it or not, this is the first I've heard of them. *shrugs*

message 19: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments I was a juvenile delinquent in high school and often made fun of those who played or followed sports.

message 20: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments like Ponyboy?

message 21: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments Track + Field/Lacrosse/Baseball.

Baseball > everything else.

message 22: by Nools (last edited Aug 06, 2009 11:54AM) (new)

Nools | 538 comments I was SUPER active, but not much for organized sports. The ones I really wanted to play, they wouldn't let me anyway (i.e. football :/).

On the streets, we played: Hockey, soccer, frisbee, tag football.

Do handball and kickball count?

Oh yeah. A couple years of Taekwondo, but what Korean kid doesn't? And my brother, who stuck to it for much longer than I, get's all touchy when someone calls it a sport. "It's not a sport! It's an ART!!" "Whatever, man."

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Kickball - NO WAY

::Hides from Heidi behind the ficus::

message 24: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments Kevin "El Liso Grande" wrote: "like Ponyboy?"

Well, maybe not to that extreme. I dabbled in juvenile deliquency with an eye to going on to college.

message 25: by Heidi (last edited Aug 06, 2009 11:57AM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments Kickball definitely counts, Nools. Definitely. :) And if we're talking about sports/games at home, we did a lot of flashlight tag, trampoline jumping, dodgeball, and four square. OH! And roller skating and bike riding.

Lacrosse?!!! That's awesome, Matt. I never hear much about Lacrosse. I just knew a few guys back in high school who played it. I had a crush on one of 'em.

I'm fairly competitive. I like playing and competing in both team and individual sports about the same.

message 26: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments ahh. one of those who could actually spell it correctly too

message 27: by Heidi (last edited Aug 06, 2009 12:00PM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments Jim wrote: "Kickball - NO WAY

::Hides from Heidi behind the ficus::"


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Heidi wrote: "Jim wrote: "Kickball - NO WAY

::Hides from Heidi behind the ficus::"



You can't really think I'm going to fall for you calling me out do you Heidi?

message 29: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments You replied, didn't you?

message 30: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments A lot of kids are playing kickball these days. My two oldest were in a league. Here's part of their all-star game, as if you could have "all-stars" in kickball...


message 31: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments You could have all-stars in kickball. It could happen.

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Heidi wrote: "You replied, didn't you?"

Good point.

message 33: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments Accept your fate, Jim.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I actually liked kickball as a kid during recess games. But they never had us play it in junior high or high school PE.

Four-square was pretty fun, too. But we never knew what to do with the tetherball...

message 35: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments I have no idea what four-square is. See? It's a genetic defect.

message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Larry wrote: "Accept your fate, Jim."

I accepted my fate along time a go Larry, its all theatrics now ;-).

message 37: by Heidi (last edited Aug 06, 2009 12:15PM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10824 comments Four square - 4 flat squares of cement (a quiet street is perfect for this), volleying the ball back and forth between the squares, ball has to touch the ground inside the square, though (we usually played with a kickball or a soccer ball) - like tennis without a net and there are 4 pads in which the ball needs to touch instead of just the 2 with a player in each square.

message 38: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments the band kids played foursquare with a tether ball or a flat red rubber one that we let them use (as it was near useless to us)

message 39: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) | 24188 comments Ah. I am now enlightened.

message 40: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (KSprink) | 11469 comments i also used to play it some as i was usually made to stay beside the teacher on the blacktop during recess instead of play with the other kids due to some minor discretion in the classroom

message 41: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (luvrdn) | 501 comments I did all the sports till freshmen year and I found smokes. I fell fast.
I put my oldest daughter in everything so she could try it. She liked soccer and gymnastics. She developed a knee injury and that was that for sports.
Madison is three and is headed for dance and gymnastics. She is training for gymnastics on her own so I better get her some help before she gets hurt.

message 42: by Charly (new)

Charly Played baseball and basketball in CYO until high school where it was apparent that I was too small to continue there...I turned to running and ran competitively for seven years in HS and college.

I think the discipline it takes to perform to your best in any endeavor whether it is sports, arts or any special talent, builds the person we become.

For me there is a thing called "the runner's mentality". In short it is that regardless of how well you ran you should be able to find something you could have done better, and never, never, never settle for anything less than your best effort.

I took this mentality into my professional life and it has served me well.

As has been said in various ways before let the child find the activity whether is is sport or any other interest, and then encourage them to be the very best they can be at what they do.

message 43: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments "Should kids play sports? What if they don't?
Did you play sports as a kid? What did you get out of it? What sucked about it? "

I played basketball through eighth grade, but quit that year because our coach wasn't actually booking many games, and those he did were against schools that wouldn't play against girls (our school was so small we just had one co-ed team). I didn't try in high school because the practice schedule looked way too demanding. I didn't even try out, but I think that's about when I would have been weeded out, in any case, since I didn't get any taller, or faster. I learned that if you chew a whole pack of Gator Gum at once, it hydrates you and it's too large to swallow. Also, our coach's rather...buxom...girlfriend helped coach, and I learned that if they abbreviate "Assistant Coach" on a t-shirt with only the first three letters instead of "Asst" the joke never gets old.

My big thing was horses. I worked my butt off to earn rides, so it definitely taught me about hard work and fairness (and class discrepancies!bonus!). I started working for rides when I was about 11. It taught me bravery since I could get more rides if I rode the horses other people were scared of, like the psycho polo ponies. It also led me to my current vocation, since I spent a lot of years volunteering at a therapeutic riding place as well.
I'm far more serious about it as a sport/discipline as an adult. I'm not really a driven competitor, but I like to have goals, and I am better at identifying them.

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