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Question: Can you please tell me how you handle sporting events in your family? My daughters want to play soccer this spring. There will be times when both games and practices will be at the same time. I am not a sports person at all, but do not want to spoil it for them. My husband says he will help taking them to the games on the weekends. I feel already burnt out, and now all this extra activity on the weekends is really going to make me feel bitter about the whole situation. Do you feel that just dropping them off and picking them up is enough on my part? I just can't see me sitting through those games and practices. I hope I am not appearing selfish -- I really do love my children!
Answer:

Dear Mom,

You do not seem selfish at all. I am right there with you when it comes to sport practices, etc. It is tedious and time consuming, etc. I would be glad to tell you how we have handled this in our family.

All of the children play some type of sport. The girls do ballet, swimming and baseball. The boys prefer baseball and basketball.

When the children were as young as yours are now I stayed with them throughout the practice. As the children got older and if the practice was held in a building (such as swimming) then I would leave them with strict instructions that they were not to leave the building. I would tell the coach that I was not staying and that they were not to leave the building. I always made it a point to be back to practice 10 minutes or so before the practice was over so as not to have them waiting on me. I would give them instructions to wait for me in a particular place. Dance lessons are done the same way.

I make it a point to get to know the coach/teacher before I proceed when the children sign up for new sports. I wanted to feel confident about the coach's responsibility level before I entrusted the children to his/her care.

Sometimes ball practice is held in a field outside of town. Thankfully the two older girls have always played on the same team. When the field is out of town I always stay. It is inconvenient and time consuming. I make sure that I have needle work, or a book to read.

I know exactly how you are feeling about this commitment. This is a part of parenting that requires patience. Children who like to play sports enjoy the fun of playing on a team.

As far as the games and swim meets, I usually go to these. You are right the time spent at such activities can eat up a whole weekend in no time. Here again, sometimes the only way I can reconcile my feelings about the inconvenience is to remind myself that childhood is short and the experience of playing team sports (for those children who enjoy this) is remembered fondly and has the potential to enrich this time in their life. It is indeed a blessing that your husband will share a portion of the burden.

Depending on the number of games, I may choose to attend only every other one. However when it comes to baseball I try to get to every game. I enjoy watching the children play. Swim meets I never miss. This is my favorite sport to watch. My husband works 1 hour and 40 minutes from our home. He can not be there for the week day games or meets.

My three girls enjoy the swim team. They have practice 4 days a week. I decided to use that wait time to go swimming myself. :) Sometimes I take a walk while they are practicing. It also gives me a nice block of time to pray the rosary or read or knit. I have made 3 shawls, 6 scarves, and now am working on leg warmers. :) Of course, when I had little nursing persons this time spent waiting on siblings to finish sport practice usually was quite a bit more difficult.

I would suggest that you have a serious family caucus to iron out the challenges that you feel this new chapter in your life will present. Bless your heart. I feel for you, but you may find that it is not as time consuming as you suspect. I will be praying for you.

Let us pray together a Hail Mary as you discern the path the Holy Spirit wants you to take with regard to this challenge. I will be praying for you as well. Tomorrow I will be at the rec center, the dance studio, piano, 4-H and play practice. You will be on my thoughts and I will keep your intentions close to my heart in prayer.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

   
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