To be honest, you and I have had a turbulent relationship. You’ve caused me late nights and early mornings, disappointment and heartache, and you’ve made me wipe tears from my children’s faces on more than one occasion. I have resented you, cursed you many times and some days you have even stolen my sanity. The life of a sports family is often chaotic, tiring, scheduled and trying but I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
You have been an amazing teacher and mentor. You have taught my children (and begrudgingly I admit even me) so many lessons that you’ll never learn anywhere else.
Thank you for teaching work ethics. You taught that you can’t give up even when the result looks determined. All can be won or lost at the end with the right or wrong effort.
Thank you for teaching us all that fair and equal are not the same. Many go through life thinking they should be and that everyone deserves equal play (and ultimately an equal life). And while everyone deserves the chance to learn, grow and develop, these ideas are not the same. When someone puts in the effort, training, knowledge and attitude, and they outshine their peers, fairness would dictate they have earned more, not equal.
Thank you for teach us to be coachable. True knowledge and learning, by nature, comes from others not from ourselves. When we open our minds to other thoughts and ideas, we have the opportunity to not only learn but teach others and contribute to those around us in a more impactful way.
Thank you for teaching goal setting. A simple coaches plan, a tryout, or peer competition can all be something to strive for. You’ve taught that you need a plan and a map to follow in order to succeed. We can develop better, become stronger, and achieve more when we have goals.
Thank you for teaching the value of being part of a team. Little can be done alone that cannot become better as part of a team. We push each other to become better and even develop leadership skills when we are around others. We also work harder knowing that letting others down is on the line.
Thank you for teaching us time management. With lives becoming busier, more hectic and scheduled, managing our time is ultimately a necessity. It gives us balance while working towards a goal which extends well beyond making sure we arrive to an arena, field or stage on time.
Thank you for teaching us how to win AND lose graciously. There is always someone who takes home the win while the other goes home without and while youth sports are now more than ever offering everyone a medal, trophy or ribbon, everyone goes home knowing what the score was. Whether we win or lose, the ability to do so graciously will give us the ability to be happier and more fulfilled whatever the result. Sportmanship is not only in the win.
So today I say thank you for late nights, early mornings, lost sleep, tears, frustration, and full calendars because it gave us strength, balance, focus, empathy, ethics, and so much more.