We’re a No-Sports Family (For Now)

The other day, a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple years was over for a long-overdue visit. After we caught each other up on changes in our lives, she asked me what sports the boys are playing. “None!” I replied gleefully. They are six years old, fresh-faced first-graders, and they enjoy free, imagination-driven play at home. That’s the kind of exercise I think is important for them at this tender, young age. Sometimes it includes a Frisbee, baseball bat, or plastic baseballs. Often there is running, jumping, and crawling. Sometimes dancing. They frequently try to incorporate their idea of a ninja or swordplay/lightsaber move. Also, they really enjoy wearing basketball shorts.

Apart from their swimming lessons, which they take through their summer daycare program, our kids aren’t participating in any extracurricular sports. And I don’t feel bad about it in the least. That means that we aren’t participating in sports either, because parents of kids in sports have to do a lot–the preparing, the hauling of gear, the purchasing of special costumes (okay, “uniforms”), the shuttling of the children back and forth to fields or gyms or rinks, the planning for meals on the go or after arriving home late. I’m sure there are several good reasons other parents decide to enroll their kids in sports and dedicate themselves to all that is required.

Thank you, but no thank you.

My husband and I are homebodies. We prefer to spend our evenings and weekends in the comfort of our home when possible. If we had practices or games to attend during our precious free time, I don’t think we would be happy campers. We’re low-key and introverts, and just the thought of spending hours amongst other people, watching our kids chase a ball or a puck or each other, is exhausting. We don’t like being “busy” all of the time, and even without sports dominating our schedule, we feel like we do enough and get out of the house enough on the weekends. I actually cringe and fret when we have something planned on a weekday evening.

We have twins. That $300 enrollment fee? That’s $600 for our two boys. We don’t happen to have that kind of cash lying around. Yes, I understand it could be considered an investment in their wellbeing, but we’d rather not go into debt so we can buy groceries. Undoubtedly we’d have to buy even more groceries to feed our budding athletes, who would burn even more calories than they do now. I shudder to think. They eat a TON as it is, and they’re somehow still rail-thin.

Apart from swimming, which also teaches a valuable survival skill, I don’t care for most sports. I don’t want to say that I HATE them, but I don’t want to spend my time watching them. I get irritated just trying to drive past the crowded local soccer park on a weekend. I took ballet lessons and was on a swim team for years when I was younger, and those were the only sports I enjoyed. I’m so grateful my parents didn’t insist that I join other sports. I’m horrible at soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf. I can’t even stay upright on ice skates. In school, the kids are gradually learning how to play various sports and the many rules that I don’t necessarily remember. That’s good enough for now.

In the future, if our kids express interest in joining a team or trying a sport, we’ll be supportive and figure out a way to afford it and work it into our schedule. Right now, though, I want them to be kids and feel free to enjoy life at their own pace when they can. They are under the impression that they will train to be on America Ninja Warrior someday, which I neither encourage nor discourage. But for now, they’re perfectly happy playing Angry Birds Star Wars Ninjago. And I’m perfectly happy with that.

P.S. I don’t do crafts either. Maybe I’m just a lazy mom.

3 Responses to We’re a No-Sports Family (For Now)

  1. Melissa September 19, 2017 at 9:45 am #

    Love this, Jenny! We did a few things this summer, but my girls are completely happy not doing anything but school right now (which is plenty!) .. and I love not having to drive them all over. 🙂 Great perspective.

    • Jenny
      Jenny September 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks, Melissa!

  2. Melly September 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    I am also introverted and a homebody. I had a similar attitude toward sports until we got involved with them. Now, I am so happy we did get involved both for my kids sake and for mine as well.

    Yes, we are busy with 2 kids, both in 2 sports at the moment. Practices, games, rushed meals and late nights all are part of our lives.

    While introverted, I do like people, so I’ve made many new friends and acquaintances through sports. I’m not great at small talk, but talking about kids and their sports are easy subjects.

    My kids have gained confidence in their own abilities as they try new sports and have success. That confidence has carried over into the classroom.

    My kids have made great new friends and expanded their horizons through sports. They’ve learned to deal with kids of different temperaments and with different personalities. They’ve also learned to control their own emotions when appropriate. Their speed, stamina, strength and agility have all improved.

    There are lower cost options. My local rec department has tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, flag football, etc. for $40 – $60 per child per season. A local golf course offers kid lessons for similar amounts. Used equipment can be found on Facebook, Craig’s List, or at garage sales for much less than new.

    I also have been a head coach and an assistant coach for my kids’ teams. What a rewarding experience! I know many of my kids friends well and they know and are comfortable with me. I can’t explain how great it feels to see the kids improve and have success through my coaching and their efforts.

    Since your kids are only in first grade, there is certainly no rush to get involved. However, waiting for them to show interest in a sport isn’t always the best idea either. My kids said they didn’t want to play what turned out to be their favorite sports. I’m glad I made them try as many sports as I have.

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