Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports


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Winning isn’t Everything

I have three kids that play sports, so inevitably I can’t always be at every game. Though, this kills me, its virtually impossible to be everywhere. So, after a game I wasn’t at, I usually ask the kids how it went.

Our first instinct is to ask “Did you win?” As parents we need to reset this expectation. Asking an innocent question like that puts too much emphasis on the wins and losses. We need to remember what the goal is, player development, learning the sport and having fun. Asking more specific questions such as “What did you learn today?” “Did you work on [fill in skill here] today?” Or even asking more vague questions like “Did you work hard today?” “How did it go today?” “Did you have fun?” can change the expectation that winning is all we care about.

If we change the way we have the conversation then we’ll start changing the expectation. Learning life’s lessons through sports doesn’t always have to be through wins and losses.


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I Can’t Stand Pouters…

I can’t stand pouters. There is nothing that eerks me more. And unfortunately, I am raising at least two pouters (jury is still out on number 3). Don’t get me wrong, I have three good kids. They are kind, they are good friends and they are most always polite. Those are qualities I am so proud they have.

First, let me say my kids are not mean-spirited and never do anything with ill will toward anyone. That’s not who they are. They are competitive little beings. Like, competitive to a fault. For instance, this basketball season our oldest was on a losing team (I wrote about it here). We saw the disappointment written all over his face when the team started getting down by 5, 10, or even more. His body language and attitude shifted…and not for the better. What we would’ve like to see and what we preached to him after the game was to take that frustration and play harder. The only game you can control is yours, and you are only 1/5 of the team on the floor. We always said these things in the end, but they fell on deaf ears.

On the other hand, my daughter was on a winning team and she herself was having much success on the court. But, still, many games we had to talk to her about her body language and attitude. She was always disappointed in her play or she always picked one negative thing that happened to her and focused on that. No matter how much we told her she did great or that we were proud of her.

I tell you this, because we are not perfect parents, even though we try to preach about raising kids in this sports life we live. We are trying and doing the best we can. However, there are just somethings we can’t contend with, and one of them is DNA. You see, competitiveness runs strong in our family’s blood (Todd and I compete with each other constantly). And while it’s a great attribute, many of us have a hard time channeling it in a positive way.

We are constantly preaching to our children, if something’s not going your way on the field or court, use that energy in a positive way. Cheer on your teammates, pick each other up, play harder. Many kids, mine included have trouble breaking out of that mental slump. It’s hard when you’re a competitor and you’re losing or the game isn’t going the way you want it to, to use that negative and make it positive energy. I know a lot of adults who can’t do that let alone young athletes.

You can rest assured that Todd and I will continue to work on this with our children and if we come up with some great way that we somehow got through to our kids, we’ll share it here first. And, if someone out there has figured this out with their kids already, please share with us because inquiring minds want to know!


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Ask Yourself, Can You Commit?

So your kid wants to try out for the [insert sport here] travel team? Is your family ready for the commitment? Do you have what it takes? Does your kid have what it takes? This is something at Sports, Love & Family we feel very strongly about. It’s one of the strongest life lessons we’re teaching our kids.

Before you jump on the travel team band wagon there are some things you should ask yourself and your child. First, are you as a parent ready for this commitment? If you are not willing to drive your child all over the county for practices or games…you are not ready. If your social calendar is booked every weekend…you are not ready. If you don’t enjoy spending hours watching sporting events…you are not ready. If you purchased a vehicle based on seating availabilty and trunk capacity…you are ready. If you seek out sport events even if you don’t know any players…you are ready. If you are not ready for this type of commitment then there’s no point of asking your child if they’re ready. It begins with you. If you can’t give it your all, then don’t bother. The goal is to be an example to your child and if you can’t fully commit, then don’t do it.

Once you know you can commit, now you need to discuss what the commitment looks like with your child. Make sure you’re being honest with your child when you talk to them. Let them know how often practices are, how long and far away game days may be. Let them know how long the season is and if it interferes with other sports or activities they like to do. Because, parents, let’s face it, this is their first commitment they will make and how you handle this sets the stage for later in life.

At Sports, Love & Family we are fully committed.


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Sports Vacations, Pick #2: Baltimore, MD

So, we love sports. But, we really love baseball. Todd and I fantasize about our retirement and traveling the country going to major league baseball stadiums. We are a baseball family. Our number two vacation pick is Baltimore, Maryland. What is better than the birthplace of George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr? To a baseball family, not much!

Again, it was easy to get there, about a five and half hour drive. We stayed in Downtown Baltimore, not far from the Inner Harbor. We loved walking around the harbor area and of course, we visited the National Aquarium while there. Definitely a must see while in Baltimore. After we exhausted ourselves with walking around the harbor we went to rest.

The next morning was our tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m a firm believer that your tour guide makes or breaks your tour. Just like at Louisville Slugger, our tour guide at Camden Yards was phenomenal. He was a retired teacher and clearly loves baseball history. Even if you’re not a baseball fan the history of Camden Yards is impressive. It’s so cool how the frontage is the old B&O Train warehouse (yes, the monopoly one), now office space (could you imagine working there?). Each component of Camden Yards was designed with other stadiums in mind, essentially they took the best parts of cool stadiums and put them into the new stadium.

One of my favorite parts of the stadium is the plaque baseballs in the ground, or on the wall of the warehouse for the farthest hit homeruns (there’s only one on the wall and it belongs to Ken Griffey, Jr.) It was fun trying to find our beloved Indians players. There’s a nice space past the outfield with player statues, just like at Progressive Field. If you’re a fan of Babe Ruth, Baltimore is the place for you. Our guide told us all about The Babe’s life. It was cool to look out past the city and see the boy’s home that he stayed in and a few blocks over was his home and now the Babe Ruth Museum. Where second base now sits was the bar that his parents owned. His mother didn’t want The Babe born above the bar, so she moved in with her in-laws a few blocks away (the museum site).

After the tour we walked around the stadium and to the Babe Ruth museum. The whole walk over was fun because they have baseballs guiding you. We didn’t take the tour of the museum, but we walked in the store. I definitely think I’d like to go back and do the tour.

When we got back to our car we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to Washington, DC. And if you learned anything about our family, sports (especially baseball) was involved in that adventure too! Stay tuned…


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Life Lesson: Persevering through Adversity

What do you do when faced with adversity? Do you back down and give up or do you push yourself to the limit? Many of us learned this lesson on a ball field or court early on. The way we reacted to a challenging situation then, may not be the way we’d handle it now. However, being a parent allows us to use the insight we gained at those times with our children today.

Our daughter’s basketball team was playing another team they’ve played four times in the last two weekends. After that many games in a short time you learn a lot about the other team and each player. Our daughter ended up defending the same girl in each game. After the first game it became apparent she was an aggressive and “dirty” player. Last weekend she handled her very well. We were very proud of how she worked through that challenge and persevered.

However, after playing this team four times our girl was pushed to her limit. The fourth game was different. The other girl was more aggressive and dirty. She was actually being told to behave that way from her parents in the stands. Clearly, her mom and dad haven’t read our fan behavior post. At the beginning it looked like our child was getting the best of the other girl. I was proud in that moment, because I felt like she was pushing through everything this girl was trying to throw at her. But, as the game went on the physicality of it got worse. She hadn’t dealt with that before. I could see the frustration begin to build on her face.

After the game we walked over to tell her how proud we were of her. We let her know that she played the game the right way. It didn’t matter, the tears began to flow and she didn’t want to hear anything we said. She didn’t care that we were praising her, she felt like she didn’t handle it well. Her frustration was at an all time high. Her and I walked down the hall to the bathroom, all the while I was saying all the right things (in my mind).

After a few minutes in the bathroom of me trying to talk to her, I realized it was a lost cause in this moment. She was running on adrenaline and emotion. I tried to compete with that by using all the things I’ve learned from every sports article I’ve ever read.

We both learned something in that bathroom that night. I know that in those few minutes after the toughest game she’s played thus far she wasn’t hearing me talk about persevering through adversity and being pushed to your limit, but she did store it away in her mind. I also realized that I need to let her have space after a game. It’s ok for her to be emotional, all of the emotions, good and bad. I can talk to her about the life lesson she just learned first hand…but next time I’ll wait a bit.

This day was not about us helping our daughter in that moment, it was about giving her space so she could figure out how to work through the situation in her own time and way. On this day, WE learned a life lesson through sports.