Does It Pay To Be In The Game? (5 Ways To Keep Your Eye On The Ball)

by Lori Taylor · 3 comments

social media consultant | playing full out

Me and my son Brooks at the age of 6

Yes, it pays to be in the game, Moms and Dads.

(Minus your black berry, your iphone or God forbid your laptop Captain Obvious.)

At the game, no matter what age of the players, you see athletes large, small and in between.

Some are gifted and know it, so they coast.

Others are not as blessed and know it, so they work like crazy.

A select few are gifted and work like crazy.

There is a place for all of them in youth, junior high and high school sports.

But more importantly there is also a place for you as their parents.

Maybe you’re stuck behind the wheel feeling like an unloved bus drive.

Perhaps you have a front row seat as a coach in the dugouts playing bad cop on days when your child needs some “tough love”.

Or you might just sit unnoticed on a bench or a lawn chair on a leash threatened with being disowned should you draw any attention to yourself or child with fanatic fan like behavior. (Hey kids, sometimes we can’t help ourselves ok!)

And for the masochists out there “volunteering” to be stuck manning the concession stands or spending hours sitting in hotel lobbies for the away games – well God bless you.

No matter what your torture du jour happens to be, it’s not an easy gig.

It can be overwhelming and exhausting trying to make time by getting your work done early by working split shifts or pulling all-nighters. All of this done in an attempt to be there when the boy or girl you brought into the world digs in with the bases loaded, or drives to the basket, or gets up after being pancaked by a kid outweighing him by 75 lbs.

Occasionally, you might find yourself looking in the mirror (or at the bank statement) wondering, “Is it worth it? Is all of this really worth it?”

Yes. It is absolutely worth it.

The wins and losses fade. Trophies collect dust in an attic. Stat sheets wind up in a recycle bin. None of them matter.

You realize it years later…like the day you wake up and your baby is graduating from college.

You hear chatter about a college semester  where a you baby worked on long project that involved building a city – designing the water system, infrastructure, etc. – and the mind drifts to softball diamonds here and in other cities, other states- the good ole days.

The hot days, too many miles and all the stress of getting there on time with the right stuff packed all fades away. It was a group project requiring strategy, planning, execution and, more than anything, teamwork.

And sports introduced them to all of it.

Sports taught your kids that life isn’t always fair.

Line drives get caught. Bloopers fall in. Umpires miss calls. Players drop balls.

Deal with it. Learn from it. Move on.

Sports strengthened their resolve and toughened their skin, so when an irate boss openly voices displeasure, they can tell a concerned co-worker, “It’s OK. I’ve had coaches yell at me.”

Doesn’t mean they like it and it doesn’t make it right. But they can handle it.

Because sports prepare kids to manage success and disappointment and how to deal with adversity while maintaining “good sportsmanlike conduct”.

(Keep that in mind the next time you drive six hours to a sweltering summer tournament, or shiver under a blanket at a spring doubleheader…)

It’s worth it.

God, it’s SO worth it.

Just be sure to occasionally take a breath, take a step back and take a second to enjoy the moment. And remember, games turn to seasons and seasons to years, faster than you can say, “Do you have everything in your bat bag?”

It doesn’t last much beyond that.

Which is why you must make the most of every minute as they come with these 5 easy to own rules to keep your eye on the ball.

# 1 Squeeze What You Can From The Long Rides, The Overnight Stays, Etc.

You never get those back.

It would be a shame to waste them listening to an iPod or dwelling on a loss.

#2 Encourage Them To Succeed, But Allow Them To Fail.

They learn from both. Be there either way. It’s all they will remember.

#3 Experience The Journey With Them, Not Through Them.

You had your time. This is theirs, no matter how many hours you contribute.

#4 Hold Them Accountable Beyond The Court/Field.

Remind them playing sports is like any privilege. It can be taken away.

But keep in mind, the key is not whether they make or miss the winning shot, but that they learn to accept responsibility for taking it.

#5 Finally, Continue To Give Them Love And Support, Win Or Lose.

If they can do that, they won’t shy away from much at work, in school, in life. Learning to love themselves for trying, for doing their best, even for failing is the biggest gift you can give a child.

Whatever it takes – stay in the game and don’t take your eye off the ball.

They’re worth it.

You’re worth it.

“It’s” worth it.

[Note:  this post came from an email I received from a friend who received it from a dad she knows. Thank you so much for this gift! It’s something that can even be applied to your business when developing your team  or building a team culture.]

Lori Taylor


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan Gonsalves July 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Great advice here. Teaching kids sports prepares them for so many thing other than just being athletic.


LoriRTaylor July 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm

So true. My son had an amazing game once where he pitched and got teeth knocked out. He kept playing and held his ground – never quit. He couldn’t understand why all the parents and coaches were teared up about it. His coach said in 34 years he’d never seen such a gutsy performance. (It was tournament, we were winning and no more pitchers to replace him). So I had to explain – “dude this is your life – baseball is what you put all your energy into – how you act here is how you’ll act later when you are doing “more important” things. But this builds your spirit, your confidence and your character – keep doing what you’re doing – it’s working.” Love that kid.


Nethan Cardin July 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

What is the best way to get your kids involved in sports? Do you just go and sign them up for a team, or do you wait until they tell you they want to play a specific sport?


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