Sep 10, 2020 • 4 min read
“Watching my grandson learn all aspects of life through sports, playing hard, working as a team and most of all, having fun.”
“The fun. Whether you are a player or a coach there is nothing like being sucked into the competition. The rush of being in the zone of your sport as a player or a coach.”
“Watching my son learn and thrive emotionally, socially, psychologically and physically.”
“Community involvement, team work, encouragement for kids to compete and work for a common goal. Support of your team.”
Everyone is missing sports and activities right now and the above quotes by TeamSnap users are not isolated stories – they are world-wide stories.
Pretty much everyone on the planet has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. But many are dealing with a lot more than those of us who are missing out on the feel-good moments in sports. If we take a moment and bring this into context, we will realize that we haven’t really lost anything.
Athlete development is a continuous journey with many hills and valleys – much like life. If we do the hard work, it leads to external rewards along the way. Making the varsity squad in middle school; getting special accolades as a senior; receiving a black belt in karate or winning the Little League World Series are all examples of external rewards and they feel good. But in the larger scope of things as it applies to a lifelong journey of self-improvement, placing too much emphasis on these brief moments can hinder our development, affect our happiness, or even sidetrack us completely. We can lose our way.
When something doesn’t go as expected, what language are we going to use when talking to our kids about so-called “unfairness?” Are we going to lay blame on some outside force, or will we help our kids experience growth by teaching them to look within themselves where the real answers are? During a pandemic, just staying healthy becomes a challenge. “Without your health, you have nothing” couldn’t ring truer. But instead of being bored because there’s nothing to do or dwelling on what we’re missing out on, why don’t we use these challenging times to show our kids how to navigate obstacles to our greater good?
When life is rolling along without a hitch, it’s easy to start feeling entitled, especially when something is taken away – or we don’t get our way.
Our personal good effort in life is what leads to sustainable success; it’s something we have complete control over. But even if we work our tail off it doesn’t mean we are entitled to anything because the truth is, when it comes to excellence, hard work is expected. We are entitled, however, to feel good about ourselves because we have put in the work through thick and thin. With this approach, confidence grows and opportunities lie ahead.
While it is disappointing for some that their sports have not returned or may look different, let this be a time for reflection and self-discovery, not one of blame and denial. Become skilled at seeing the big picture instead of the small window of opportunity you think you missed. Let’s learn how to use disadvantage… to our advantage by refusing to give in and dig deep to find a stronger, more disciplined and caring version of ourselves.
In youth sports, it’s very easy to lose perspective and focus only on the external rewards. But when we fail to see the bigger picture, we sabotage the very purpose of youth sports: character and physical development. By adhering to a model of self-improvement as a whole person – not just as an athlete, our kids will reap the internal rewards which they will carry with them throughout life. They will learn to see the feel-good moments along the way for what they truly are: not an end result, but rewards for their continuing effort on a journey toward self-discovery.
UA’s latest innovation, the UA SPORTSMASK, illustrates unwavering commitment to athletes and teams, putting their health and safety first while adhering to current CDC guidelines. Together, TeamSnap and Under Armour are tracking the Return to Sports across the United States and Canada. We’re here to help you to stay up to date on when sports are returning to your area.
Chuck Schumacher is the author of “How to Play Baseball: A Parents Role in Their Child’s Journey,” available at www.chuckschumacher.com (signed copy) or Amazon. Chuck has 20 years experience as a youth baseball coach and 40 years experience in martial arts. In 2006, he opened Chuck’s Gym in Franklin, Tenn., where he teaches baseball and Okinawan karate. You can contact Chuck at email@example.com.