June 15, 2011
I went to my son’s first lacrosse game the other day. This is a monumental occasion because I ask if he wants to join the team for every sports flyer that comes home and he never does. Finally, when asked about lacrosse, he said yes. We signed him up and I thought, “Great. He’ll be an athlete and this will be his sport.”
I watched him practice the first time and he started picking it up: scooping, cradling, throwing. Come game day the coach puts him in at forward about four minutes into the game. I’m excited, visualizing him scooping up the ball and throwing past the goalie for the game-winning goal. I come back to reality and see him standing in front of the other goal, stick down by his side, having a nice conversation about something with the opposing goalie, not realizing a game is going on. Later in the game he is wandering around the field looking up at the sky aimlessly, swinging his stick around his body.
I later asked him what his favorite part of the game was. He replied, “Playing on the playground afterwards.”
I then realized he doesn’t need to be an athlete. Not everyone can be, or even wants to be an athlete. More importantly, he shouldn’t have to do it because I want him to. He’s an amazing kid who quickly picks up whatever HE wants (reading, math, Legos). Those things are far more important in life than sports, anyway. Why do we as dads have the need for our kids to be athletes? I will be just as happy if he simply enjoys life. There will be enough pressure on him for the rest of his life (grades in school, getting into college, finding a job, climbing the corporate ladder, etc.).
For now I will just let him wander aimlessly on the lacrosse field, or soccer field, or any other field and just enjoy himself.