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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that this may spark some real entrenched points of view. I just want to remind everyone that we need to be respectful of other peoples opinions.

So I want to get my youngest son involved in organized team sports. Thought it might be good for him. He spent six years in Karate, but he voiced his desire to join a more tradition team sport. I was not crazy about getting him into football. He is on the smaller side and I just think he will get bounced around too much. He is athletic, and does like baseball so that is the one we agreed to put him into.

Here is where this thread may get heated, but I would like to remind everyone to be respectful. These days they have what seems like an endless stream of organizations that have sports teams. One of them is of course the MLB sponsored little league and then there are those like I-9 sports. The major difference is the philosophy to each league. The traditional little league, is competitive, they keep score and at the end of the season there is a little league state champion. With competition can come some ugliness we have all seen in the movies and even on the news when it really gets ugly. The I-9 sports, they don't keep score, there is less of a competitive nature to it and no crowning of a champion at the end of the season. I can see the benefit of both and the drawbacks to both.

My wife and I have been mulling over this like a debt/assets worksheet. In the end, we decided to put him in the traditional competitive little league program. Probably the big factor is that I think even though kids need to be kids, they also can't be protected from the reality that our society is a competitive society. If you want to get into the best college or college program, you have to go against others for limited spots. The same comes for a job, etc. I just hope this teaches what I want it to and not regret it. I guess I am interested in the views of others who have children actively involved and those have 'had' their children actively involved.
 

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My son (11.5) is involved with soccer and basketball. I've always signed him up for recreational leagues, simply because a) he isn't really good enough yet for "Classic"/Competitive leagues, and b) I didn't want him to devote the many more hours that Classic leagues require. Right now, his first job is to go to school, do homework, keep his grades up, and have fun.

He's asking if he can try out for Classic soccer in the fall, and we'll let him try out and if he makes it, great, we'll deal with it. But having seen him play, he's okay, but not the best player by far, and he may not be up to Classic league standards. And I guess it's good for him to try and learn from the experience.

Also, the competitive atmosphere primarily comes from the parents I see pushing their kids, not so much the kids themselves. Even in Rec, there are always some pushy parents to don't know how to just watch and support their kid.
 

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I agree with your choice.

If your son gets into this program and he does not do well and sees the sport in a less competitive light, then you can always switch him to the less competitive league.

It would be almost impossible to make the move in the other direction.
 

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Former jock here. Looking back on my competitions from the 1970s, wins, losses and a run at a state championship I learned more from my losses than my victories. Even after all these years those stand out more than memories from the podium. Competition is a healthy thing but it is up to the parents to keep it in perspective and to lead by example on the sidelines..
 

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My son (11.5) is involved with soccer and basketball. I've always signed him up for recreational leagues, simply because a) he isn't really good enough yet for "Classic"/Competitive leagues, and b) I didn't want him to devote the many more hours that Classic leagues require. Right now, his first job is to go to school, do homework, keep his grades up, and have fun.

He's asking if he can try out for Classic soccer in the fall, and we'll let him try out and if he makes it, great, we'll deal with it. But having seen him play, he's okay, but not the best player by far, and he may not be up to Classic league standards. And I guess it's good for him to try and learn from the experience.
Or the competition might light a fire under him that you have not seen before. Competition does that to some people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Former jock here. Looking back on my competitions from the 1970s, wins, losses and a run at a state championship I learned more from my losses than my victories. Even after all these years those stand out more than memories from the podium. Competition is a healthy thing but it is up to the parents to keep it in perspective and to lead by example on the sidelines..
I agree a lot more can be gained from losing than winning. I for one know that I can keep it perspective. I just know from seeing my nephews involved and going to their games how some parents can be. So no doubt this was a big in the negative column, but decided to take that chance.
 

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There's this premise that the spoiled and entitled kids of today are made so by namby-pamby non-competitive sports leagues that hand out trophies to everyone. I don't think that's true at all. Sports plays a minuscule role. More likely, its because kids aren't held to standards by anyone. Not their parents. Not their teachers.

My kids all played soccer at the rec and club levels and ran track and cross country in school. In the case of soccer, the better they got, the more they practiced, the farther we traveled, and the more ill-behaved the adults became.

We always prioritized schoolwork above sports, and their lessons about succeeding, failing, and unfairness in life mostly came from academics, not wins or losses on the soccer field or track. Sports were what they did for fun and camaraderie.
 

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My husband coached our both of our kids' soccer teams. They were in a recreational league when they were young, and a competitive league starting in 5th grade.

I do think that the competitive league was good for the older children because, as you said, it helps prepare them for the realities of life. I would watch the parents, though, and talk to the coach if any of them get abusive of the kids or the coach. Some people take sports far too seriously. We also experienced other coaches trying to poach the best players from our team. It is indeed a good lesson in real life.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lovesherman, this is exactly how I was looking at our approach. We do emphasize academics over sports, but do see value in sports. Our conflict, should sports just be for the pure fun of it or should it have some level of competition. I am still conflicted.

On the same vein, I have my sons enrolled in music lessons not be professional musicians but to expand and enrich their life.

Being a parent, hardest damn job on earth, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
 

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Sports are great as long as it is FUN. Team sports should also be mixed with individual sports. So here here is my plug for swimming. Is your child an accomplished swimmer? Can they swim at least 100 yards and tread for at least 5 minutes? Most can't.

It is great if your kid can run up and down a field kicking a ball, but it won't kill them if they can't do it well. Drowning is deadly every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sports are great as long as it is FUN. Team sports should also be mixed with individual sports. So here here is my plug for swimming. Is your child an accomplished swimmer? Can they swim at least 100 yards and tread for at least 5 minutes? Most can't.

It is great if your kid can run up and down a field kicking a ball, but it won't kill them if they can't do it well. Drowning is deadly every time.
My son is a swimmer like his dad, but he has not shown interest in getting involved with a swim team.
 

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My son is in his 10th season of football and he is only 11. I believe that the only time they did not keep score was during flag. But the funny thing is that the kids sure kept score. While we always celebrate the "win", we also celebrate his own accomplishments on a game per game basis.

My daughter has been in cheer 5 yrs. You want to talk about competitive...my advice is don't mess with the cheer moms. We go to about 6 competitions per year. We alway set goals for what she wants to accomplish before cheer season is out and tell that she has to do her best.

You are right life is a competition and kids know that at an early age. Our society needs to get ove the "self esteem" issue and let our kids develope real life skills. You don't get a pay raise by doing the bare minimum.

FYI The rule in our house is that you can participate in any sport you want....just let me know when you are done with one so I don't waste money. The other rule is that you must be involved in one activity...doesn't matter if it is a "sport" or something as simple as drama or chess club. I don't expect my kids to be the best out there as long as the give it all they have.
 

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On another note the best thing that ever happened to my daughter was trying out for volleyball in 6th grade and not making the team. She had succeed at everything up until then. It took her down a notch...which was much needed at the time. She has played volleyball the last two yrs and does not start but has improved each year. If she continues to show interest, then we will be sending her to camps this summer.
 

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The other rule is that you must be involved in one activity...doesn't matter if it is a "sport" or something as simple as drama or chess club.
:iagree:

That is a requirement in our house too. I was a jock, my wife was a thespian and our kids have been a mixture of both. Keeping kids involved in extracurricular activities of any kind can help build character and confidence. The saying "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" isn't bogus. Keeping kids involved and focused can be a great asset to a parent.
 
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My son is a swimmer like his dad, but he has not shown interest in getting involved with a swim team.
Just noticed your location. Of course he can swim. It is the people in the land locked states like me, that see more value in kicking balls and martial arts. I had a dad of a scout that couldn't swim once tell me that he could not afford swim lessons because his son took jujitsu or something like that twice a week. Great, lets make sure he knows how to swim first so he lives if his opponent knocks him into a body of water.
 

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I think it depends on the kids. My 3rd & 4th kids are crazy compeditive. Not so much against each other, but in their own fields.

No 3 son does karate, he competes at National level & pushes himself to do better. He is healthy with his compeditivness (I think), in that if he does not place in his comps, he will go away, analyze his match & strive to improve. He has never had much of an interest in team sports, unless it is team karate.

Daughter, no 4, can't stand not being the best in her field of music, flute. She will push herself to be the best. She strives to be number one in the orchestras she is in. No interest in sport.

Our other 3 are not in the least compeditive. In fact, one day during a touch football match, my youngest felt sorry for the opposing team being down some players & went to play for their side.
 

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My girls (10 & 6 yrs.) have both played competitive soccer and softball. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with healthy competition, and teaching a child to lose "gracefully". A lot of the happiness, I have found, comes less from winning/losing than from the experience with teammates/coaches. My older daughter had a bad softball coach, who favored the more talented kids, and it ruined softball for that daughter. Now she won't play. It wasn't about winning, it was that the coach didn't take the time with, & the time to instruct properly, the kids who needed more attention. It's a sad thing, but it was a valuable learning lesson. I do wish my daughter had persevered through it and given it another shot, but I don't force my kids to play a sport they don't want to, and she enjoys soccer much more anyway. As long as she is active, healthy, & learning I'm OK with whatever sport she chooses to play.
There are many valuable lessons to be learned from sports, both winning and losing... but you won't reap the benefits of those lessons in leagues where the children are coddled and treated as sensitive souls who can't handle adversity.
 

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Couple things.

Shall I start with my 'problems'? :D

One problem I have is considering sports as a mechanism to get ahead. Like you need to think about if, or what college a 9 year old will play baseball for. Gimme a break.

Sports are different than when I was small though. They get very competetive early no matter what sport you are looking at. Shrug. Try to keep it fun.

We have done the shotgun method. Soccer, basketball, gymnastics, swimming, hiking/boating...piano, scouts.. all of it... and try and watch what they respond well to in addition to what they say they like.

For example... our kids started basketball / soccer / T-ball / Gymnastics and swimming when they were only 5. (4?). By the time they were 9 - the town basketball league has full refs in zebra suits with hand signals playing full court blowing whistles and brisk enforcement of the rules. It looks like a highschool team. Fast breaking, really? Parents going crazy on the sidelines - yelling at thier 8 and 9 year olds? Im telling you - it seems pretty dysunctional.

Whatever you do - for gods sake - drill it into them that its a game. Yeah sometimes it takes dedication and game faces, but it should be fun for crissakes, right? Kids eat some of it up though and it so important to give them the opportunity to fit into teams and all the drama and fun and craziness and good times and misery that goes wth it.

I worry that parents dont let their kits be kids for long enough, so I would say take a good look the temperment of the program you are getting into - I think you heart will tell you what is best for your kids. Go with what makes you comfortable... if that is a well run aggressive program go for it. If it gives you the creeps - perhaps reconsider.
 

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Your doing fine. I have sons that have played sports. My youngest plays 2 high school sports and is an excellent student. My wife always wishes he was musical too (he isn't and has no interest). We've always encouraged other non-sports activities and he is involved in some. It is great to have them busy-----most kids will not be pro athletes but the lessons from sports (and other organized activities) are fantastic and can last a lifetime.
 

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IMHO as long as your child enjoys the sport / activities then it is great. Do not let their class work suffer for these exrta activities but do encourage them to try their best. As a child and a young adult I enjoyed my time playing Rugby and Swimming.
 
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