Don’t ruin it for your kids
Imagine your kid has got it.They have the skill, determination and work ethic to play whatever sport it is that they love in college.So you take them to exposure camps, spend hundreds on getting them to travel around on select teams and even hire a recruitment company to get their names out to college scouts.Then imagine, the scouts come and watch your son or daughter have a lights-out performance to pretty much seal the deal for a scholarship.With everything lining up just as you had mapped out, what if, all of a sudden, the college that at one time was all about your kid, wants nothing to do with him or her? And it is your fault.In all your panicking to make it happen, you yelled at referees and made a fool of yourself at games. And all those times you complained and had special meetings with coaches? Well, the college coaches asked about that and they don’t want to deal with you no matter how good your son or daughter is.It’s happened, so said longtime Mesa State basketball coach Doug Schakel in a seminar about the realities of high school sports last week at Coal Ridge High School. Can you imagine? All the time, money, effort, planning – gone to waste. All because you forgot what planet you live on and that you are supposed to be encouraging your kid while they play a game instead of yelling at everyone.Obviously, not all parents are like that, but for the ones who are, just think about your kid – the player on the court, the one that goes to practices and plays because he or she loves the game. And it is a game. A game meant to teach teamwork, lessons of overcoming adversity and a chance to escape from everyday life and just play. Schakel’s speech last week was a very good one, but it’s too bad there were only 50 people there to hear it. The parents I noticed there were the good ones – the ones who won’t chew out referees and coaches. Every school needs to hold one of these seminars, and every parent needs to attend. It should be mandatory.Another good point Schakel brought up was that playing sports in college is more like a job than an activity. Getting a scholarship isn’t just a gift, a free ride. It entails practice every day, workout schedules year-round and long road trips. There’s also school, the real reason the kid is at the institution.Schakel said he’s seen talented kids abandon their sport because it becomes a job, a job that takes the fun out of the game. Now, that obviously isn’t always the case, and there are many benefits of being a student athlete in college, but it’s always sad to see athletes give up a sport because it took over their lives and they grew to hate it. I know that we live in smaller towns around here and not very many athletes are in the running for scholarships. But maybe they are, even if it is a partial one to a Division II school. So, remember what your role is supposed to be, which is a supportive parent, not an overbearing, obnoxious yeller. You never know who’s watching.Contact Joelle Milholm: 384-9124; firstname.lastname@example.org
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