We’ve been parents in the world of sports for 5 years. I started as a soccer mom when my oldest was almost 3. Since then, we’ve added a few others to the list too. I love watching my son play ball as much as I love watching my daughters do gymnastics and dance. It’s such a privilege to watch our kids grow over time. The first time they try something new, they’re often nervous and cautious but as they get more comfortable their confidence soars. I will never tire of watching my kids try. We signed our kids up for a lot of activities not because we think they’re going to be super stars someday but because we want them to be kind people. I thought sports would do that. Good sportsmanship is huge and is preached a lot at practice. Whether you win or lose, you can do so with grace. That’s an important lesson I want all my kids to learn.

This morning we attended a basketball game. The teams were made up of 2nd and 3rd graders. I was so disappointed in the behavior of many. The basketball players were great. Some had really good athletic ability and others were big team players and almost all had big hearts. I heard kids say sorry. I saw so many help their teammates (and opponents) up after they were knocked down.

One of the kids got hurt. All the other kids came out to check on him. Luckily, he ended up being fine and was put back in the game. It was a good game. The boys all played hard. The parents should have a lot to be proud of.

Unfortunately, from the comments I heard, that’s not the case. I saw so many parents disappointed in the way their child played (these kids are young and are giving it their all!). I heard loud sighs. I heard people complaining about the coaches and the refs- that they weren’t doing enough. But in my book, if you’re not volunteering you don’t have the right to complain. With that said, I will shamefully admit that I talked about the other coach (to my husband). He was so loud and negative and was visibly upset with his team’s performance. It made me sad for the other team. But he’s coaching and he definitely put a lot of heart and soul into it, so I should keep my mouth quiet.

Parents, let’s remind ourselves that these are only games. Our kids are supposed to be having fun. Despite what some of us think, most of our kids will never go on to play professionally and that’s okay. We want them to learn to love the game. We want them to be dedicated to something. We want them doing something that promotes a healthy lifestyle. We want them to be team players. We want them to cheer each other on and build others up.

Our kids get it. From what I witness, our kids are being team players. They are encouraging their teammates. They’re not the ones getting loud or talking trash. Sadly, it’s us. It’s the grown-ups. The ones who know better. Maybe we need to learn from our sons and daughters. My 3-year-old clapped throughout the entire game. She didn’t care if her brother was on the court or not. She didn’t care which team scored. She was clapping and cheering for everyone. At the end of the game, like always, the teams high-fived each other and you could hear a chorus of “good game” over and over again. That moment always gets me.

I put my kids in sports hoping it will teach them something, but maybe it was me who needed the lesson.

Alissa Kay

Alissa was born and raised in the Midwest and currently calls Wisconsin home. She's happily married to her college sweetheart and she's living out her dreams of being a stay-at-home mom. Although, let's be real, she's hardly ever home. She's the mom to 3 kids who all came to her via adoption. A boy (8) and 2 girls (6 and almost 4!). The kids keep her plenty busy, but when she has free time she enjoys a night out with friends or curling up with a good book.