Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sports and Family Life

Just exactly where sports and other activities fit into
family life is always an interesting question and can
lead to quite violent disagreements among friends.

When my children were all little my family felt like an
amoeba. Wherever we went we were always together
and, though one might be a little ahead or behind, we
were always bunching up and spreading out. But as
the kids became teenagers and beyond, the craziness
of scheduling became a reality. Just keeping up with
all of the different schedules created by jobs, activities
and friend gatherings can be exhausting.

When my third son Tyler was small we had him in
gymnastics. He was very good. When he was 7, he
came in first in the state in Class VII. We live in a rural
area and were driving 40 miles one way to the nearest
facility where he could train. When he was eight we reached
a turning point in our lives. There was no place less
than 2-3 hours drive from our house that could train
him any longer. Either we would have to make a
tremendous investment in time and money or we would
have to let it go. It was a heartbreaking time. After
countless discussions and some tears we came to the
conclusion that it would not be right for us to do this
to our family. We have three other children, each just
as needy as Tyler. And we felt that to invest so much
in this one aspect of our lives would turn our focus from
Christ and His people.

Since then the direction that our sports lives has taken
has been a lot of fun for all of us. (We have to include
sports of some sort because the competitive streak
is very strong in the family.) Five out of the six of us
play on a church volleyball league. Hattie will play when
she turns 10. It is great fun. We all go together one night
a week, the five that play are spread out on three
different teams and we watch each other when it is not
our turn to be playing. We go to a church where you have
to play volleyball to belong to the church. Not really, but
over half of the church plays. In the summer we play on
a church softball league; same deal, the five that play
are spread out on 3 different teams, and we are all there
and watch each other.

The other fun thing about these leagues is that our best friends,
who are also our church family, are involved in these. We have
a blast together. The guys in the family also go on Monday
nights to play pickup basketball with a group of guys from the
church and the community.

We have also taken up tennis as a family, and we love to swim,
ski and boat. Of course we have a trampoline in the yard and a
basketball hoop in our driveway and then there is always wrestling.
Boys, especially those in my family, have prodigious amounts
of energy...and little girls who try to be like their brothers do

Tyler does play baseball for the local highschool. Even though
we homeschool, we have allowed him to attend the highschool on
a part time basis so he can do this. Hattie plays ball in the
summer for the city league, and they have all been part of
the city league soccer teams.

But for the most part, by keeping the lion's share of the sports
to ones that the whole family participates in, we have combined
a lot of fun, competition and fellowship with some great family

No comments: