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.
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.