I posted here a while back that my 13-year-old daughter had tried out for -- and made -- the school basketball team. I had my reservations about it, considering that she's just under five feet tall and had never played basketball before. But I kept those reservations to myself as I watched her work hard to make the team.
Now, mid-way through the season, I've watched her blossom. She's played a team sport for years -- fast-pitch softball -- but basketball is different. In yesterday's game, she fouled someone for the first time ever. And I was proud.
See, basketball is teaching her that if you want the ball -- if you want your shot or want to help your teammate get hers -- you have to go after it. You can't hold back because you're afraid or because you're worried about what other people will think of you. It's also teaching her that there are boundaries and when you cross them, there's a price to be paid.
Valuable life skills, no?
I'm a big advocate of sports for all kids, provided that the kid gets to choose the sport and that parents let the kid's passion guide his or her involvement -- no living vicariously through your kid, please. For some kids, though, sports and physical activity are about shame, humiliation and not living up to somebody's expectations.