Recently we went on our first out of state tournament with our oldest child. My husband is the coach and you could say I’m the Team Mom. Going out of state was Todd’s idea. He wanted to give the boys an experience. When we discussed it, he wasn’t even focusing on baseball, he was talking about the bonding that happens during those tournaments. We know you don’t have to go out of state to have that, but next year we go to Cooperstown and we thought it was a good idea to have at least one out of state tournament under our belt!
The funny thing about the weekend (well, not so funny at the time) was we didn’t play good baseball. But, I’m betting, if you ask everyone if they had a good time, they’d say yes. The reason is we made sure to plan time for the boys to hang out together. We’ve planned these trips for other sports and have realized this is the key to giving the kids an experience.
The tournament was being played on Saturday and Sunday. We gave the option for people wanting to go on Friday a chance to go to the Detroit Tigers game. Of the eleven kids on the team eight families came to the game! We had a blast and got to check another stadium off the list!
We played two games on Saturday and were done around 6:00. We arranged for everyone to meet at 7:30 at an entertainment venue. This place had go carts, laser tag, a bounce house, an arcade and more. The kids played everything and the adults hung out. When looking for a venue I wanted to be sure there was food, adult beverages and kid entertainment. All of that was met at Paradise Park! We hung out for a few hours and went back to the hotel to get some rest before Sunday’s game.
While we didn’t play the best ball, we can appreciate how well the tournament was run and the experience that was created for these boys. If you have the opportunity to take a weekend trip with your team, I highly recommend doing it. Even if it’s only a couple hours away from your home town. From the hotel shenanigans, to the planned activities, it’s a weekend your players will never forget!
And let’s remember, there’s always a life lesson: “I won’t remember the wins and losses. That’s great and all, but I think I’ll remember friendships and my teammates.” – Melissa Nafzger
This week our family is dealing with loss. No, not a loss on the field, loss of life. We had to come to the very difficult decision to put our nearly 16 year old spaniel-pointer to sleep forever. She was the final part of our lives that came before our children. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to do this as a family, but the last time we only had two children and they were both babies. Our kids are old enough now to understand and share in our emotions.
Why am I sharing something so personal with you? Mostly because writing helps, but more importantly this blog is called Sports, Love & Family. The loss of this dog has everything to do with Love & Family. And as cheeky as it may seem, we can always bring what happens in our lives back to sports.
A dog is a family companion, they are always there for you, no matter what. They love you unconditionally, good day or bad day. And this made me realize, it’s much like what us parents are for our little athletes. Our kids rely on us to be there for them good game or bad game. Always cheering them on from the stands. One day our little athletes won’t be little athletes any more. They won’t need us to truck them all over the state. They won’t need us to wash their dirty, stinky uniforms. They won’t need us to carry their equipment, because it’s too heavy. They won’t need us to cheer them along in every situation. They will grow up and no longer need us as much. This realization hurts, much like losing a family pet.
So, I’m going to tell you what lots of people preach in this digital-age. Be in the moment. Be in the moment when your child is on that field or on the court. Be present. Be present for them, even if it’s the last thing you want to do in that very moment. My daughter just tested me on this. Much like Mama, she’s a writer. She wrote about her experience that day we had to say goodbye to our dog. She wanted me to listen to it. Emotionally I knew I couldn’t handle it, but I also knew this was part of her grieving process. So, I put my phone down, and my emotions aside and let her read me her account of that day. It was so hard, but she was so happy to share it with me.
I’m vowing to be more present for my family. To enjoy all the moments, good and not so good. One thing being a sport-parent has taught me is that my kids want me to see them doing what they love. Whether it’s a good game or bad game, they want me there. I’m like the family dog, I’m always there for them no matter what.
We believe in having our kids play as many sports as possible for as long as possible. Each of our kids play multiple sports. We’ve been told playing three sports in high school is virtually impossible, so we’re encouraging them to be multi-sport athletes now. Not only are there health benefits to this, but there’s a special time in between, it’s that precious time off during the transition from one sport to another.
Let’s face it, we schedule and overschedule our children. They are constantly on the go. So, when it comes time to transition from one sport to another we typically get 1-2 weeks off. For our family those weeks are precious…but they are also a curse!
Our kids need time to be just kids. To play outside with friends and even to play some video games. But, too much time in our household isn’t a good thing either! More time together also means more arguing! I guess that’s part of growing up too!
So, why is this a blog post? Well, transitions are part of life, and learning about life through sports is what we’re all about. I wanted to bring attention to this special time because as a family we feel it’s an important time. While each kid can learn valuable lessons on the field or court, the entire family can learn about life in the transition time.
We all know life flies by, so when we have these moments of pause, we need to do just that. Stop running from place to place. Put down our devices. These transitions are built into our lives so that we can take that time to recharge. We can take this time to reconnect with each other. We can take the time to appreciate all that we have.
So, if you’re like our family and have a hard time with the downtime during a transition, try to embrace it. Enjoy watching your kids play with their friends. Sit back as the arguments begin and then be grateful for the devices as they provide peace for everyone after. Embrace some quality family time or one on one time. And remember, these moments of good and bad won’t last forever so make the most of these times!