At a recent baseball game I was sitting with some other families in the bleachers. My son was up to bat and I said softly, “Get a touchdown Drew.” One of the moms elbowed me and said, “Umm, you know we’re at a baseball game, right?” I had no idea what I had said until I replayed it in my head. No, I’m not some dingy blond who doesn’t know anything about sports. I’m a sports parent who just came from my son’s football game earlier in the day directly to a baseball tournament. I guess I was still at the football game in my mind and hadn’t had a chance to readjust.
This is a scenario that many of us have faced with our kids’ sports. Running from one sport to another or trying to put off starting the new season while the other season is ending. That’s the life of a multi-sport athlete.
It’s not a bad thing though. I have so much fun watching my kids play different sports and they’re getting such great experience in teamwork, leadership, and perseverance. The lifestyle can be very hectic though. Running from sport to sport can be exhausting, especially when you have more than one child and they have separate activities.
"Never stress over what you can't control"
The hard part of the multi-sport thing is when it comes to having to choose between games. Inevitably a day will come when there is a basketball game and a baseball game at the same time. Which one do you pick? Your kid loves both sports so how do we make this decision?
You could leave it up to your kid, but sometimes our youngsters don’t make the best choices for the right reasons. Maybe they have a good friend who’s going to be at one of the games and that’s why they want to go. But is that a bad thing?
So many things to think about. The parents I’ve talked to usually make the decision based upon a couple of different criteria. One: which game is more important, and two: which team needs our kid more. If there’s a tournament game and the team is short on players, then your kid is needed. However, what if the other game is an important playoff game? Decisions, decisions. Maybe we should all just base our decision on which place has the best snack bar or the easiest parking. I’m just kidding, sorta. I mean, maybe our convenience or enjoyment matters too. But seriously, sometimes this can be a stressful situation.
I remember a couple of years ago we had to choose between my son’s flag football game and a baseball tournament. My son was the best receiver on the team and the coach really wanted us there. The travel baseball team my son was on had just invited in some new players and my son was worried about losing his spot. This is an all too familiar scenario for so many parents. We ultimately chose to go to the football game on Saturday and then caught up with the baseball tournament at Sunday’s games. Looking back, I think we made the right decision based on the needs of the teams, but I still wonder if it had an effect on my son’s playing time and position in the batting order.
In the long run though, this is really not something to worry about. Every kid who wants to, should play multiple sports because that’s how they figure out what they like and are best at. And it’s really not the end of the world to miss a game or two. There’s always going to be another game or another team to play with, and pressure from coaches and other parents should not make your decision for you. Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for your kid and for your family. Just be considerate of your commitments and be nice about it, and you can’t go wrong.
Knowing what I know now, I sure wish I hadn’t sweated this stuff so much back in the day. Hopefully, I can help some other parents to see that this is really small stuff in the big scheme of things. Life will go on for the team and maybe you’ll keep more of your sanity than I ever did.