Youth Sports Dominate the Family Calendar, and I Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way
Local mom shares her experience with raising athletes.
When my daughters were younger, I couldn’t wait for them to be old enough to play sports. As a stay-at-home mom, I loved all the time I got to spend with them everyday, but I needed something to look forward to, something to get me out of the house. Both my girls, Kaila and Kolby, started playing soccer when they were four years old. My husband and I loved it, and enjoyed having something to do as a family every Saturday morning.
Those Saturday morning soccer games I used to look forward to all week have evolved into nightly practices and training sessions, at least five or six games a weekend and frequent out of town tournaments. We are crazy busy getting our kids to their activities -- but we wouldn’t change one thing about it.
I have had many conversations defending how our family operates and how we are always “on the go.” If you don't have children playing in year-round club leagues, our schedule may seem a little over-the-top considering our kids are in elementary and middle school. But for us, it's all we know and we absolutely love it.
Both girls play for their soccer teams year-round. Kaila, my eldest, also plays club lacrosse and basketball. Kolby plays on an AAU basketball team that plays together about ten months out of the year.
We never push them to play for the teams they are on, or to compete at the level they do. We just give them the opportunity to play and they choose to do so. We will always support any and all decisions they make in regards to playing sports. Kolby wanted to take a break from soccer and cheerlead for a few years. That was fine with us -- we were at every game and competition cheering her on. Our only family rule when it comes to sports is “if you start a season, you finish a season.”
The hustle and bustle of my life is absolutely crazy, but the rewards make every crazy day worth it. The smiles on their faces are worth every sacrifice we make. And there are many sacrifices.
We eat early dinners every night to get out the door by 5:30 for practices and games. We are constantly saying sending our regrets to many invites for different parties and activities because the kids have sports commitments. We rearrange vacations so they can get to important tournaments. Some tournaments have taken us to Virginia, Ocean City, Philadelphia and hopefully, this July, to Nationals in Orlando.
I’m still the stay-at-home mom that anticipates the weekend games. But I now spend my days washing multiple uniforms, making early dinners and organizing our family calendar. Knowing who is taking whom where and when is a job in itself. My husband and I are a great team, we divide and conquer on the weekends.
Our daughters know that we support all their decisions and are their biggest fans. There is never anywhere we would rather be than cheering them on from the sidelines. We always tell them “you don’t have to be the best, but you absolutely have to try your best.” That attitude carries over in their schoolwork as well and they are both honor roll students. We have so much to be proud of. The commitment and sportsmanship they show their team mates gives us more satisfaction than a “win.”
Getting out the door by 4:30 p.m. every Monday to get to Howard County League games may not be for everyone, but it is for us. Team sports are different than they were 20 years ago -- coaches expect more, and for the best competition you have to travel.
We ultimately want what is best for our children, and we try to give them every opportunity possible to be their best. We do not mind the sacrifices we make as parents to give that to them. Watching them excel at what they love, achieve goals, build confidence and have an unbelievable amount of self esteem, makes every busy day worth it for us!
Westminster resident Megan Brown grew up in Westminster and graduated from Westminster High School. When she is not running her two daughters all over the region for sporting events, she is often creating beautiful art and custom wall murals.