My Son is Not an Athlete, and That’s OK

athlete

My son could care less about sports.

He doesn’t like football, he can barely catch a ball, and he’s certainly not the most coordinated kid. The thing is, we live in a very football-oriented town. Almost all the boys he’s friends with, or who live on our street, play football. It seems like sports in general are the center of importance in the community we’re a part of. But, does that bother my son? Nope. Not one bit, and I love it.

My son would rather draw and write his own books or build awesome Lego buildings. But, it’s not to say that he’s not an active kid. He loves playing outside, wrestling with our dogs and running around with friends. He’s happy and carefree and perfectly content doing what makes him happy, not with what all his friends are doing. 

With that said, my husband and I do try and introduce him to sports. Mostly just because we want him to at least know how to catch and kick a ball, as a life skill of sorts. He does participate in soccer and baseball, and really enjoys them. But honestly, what he enjoys most about both is the social aspect. He’s a social butterfly and loves just playing with other kids, no matter what they’re actually playing.

Here’s the thing that doesn’t sit well with me though…

I’ve been really dishearted by how other parents react to my son. They treat him as though being an athlete is boys are “supposed to be” and that there is something wrong with him. I’ve gotten comments similar to, “Really, he doesn’t play want to play football? Why?” Ummm, because he doesn’t want to. Is that a good enough answer to that question? And honestly, he’s only 6 years old. So, I’m more than ok with him not getting his head knocked around constantly by other kids. 

I never noticed until I became a “boy mom” that boys are apparently supposed to love and also be good at sports. So naturally, when my son showed little interest in sports when he was younger, I felt some pressure to try and encourage or push it more. Of course I don’t want my kid feeling excluded because he can’t do something well. And I know that this fear will continue to grow as my son gets older and he starts becoming more self-aware of what his peers are doing. I know how important sports are in our community, and I know that his lack of interest will start to set him apart eventually.

All I can hope for is that we’ve instilled a strong sense of confidence in him.

We all want and hope for our kids to be confident and “I don’t care what other people think of me” little people. But, we all also know what high school is like. 

So, I’m going to continue to encourage him to be himself, just like every parent does. If he someday starts getting into a sport, then great! If not, that’s great too. The person I see him becoming is so wonderful, and I wish I could bottle up his carefree attitude right now, and unleash it on him when he’s a teenager.

Currently, my son is enrolled in a “Hip hop boys only dance class” and he loves it. (In case you’re wondering, it’s just as cute as it sounds) And honestly, him knowing how to dance and be confident dancing is probably going to help him out greatly in the future. (I’m looking at you, high school dances!) It’s things like this that make me happy. Seeing him love and be passionate about an activity that maybe isn’t the “norm,” is a wonderful thing to witness.

Watching my son dance or seeing the sense of accomplishment on his face when he finishes a Lego set by himself, is the best thing ever. Because whether your kid is having the time of his life catching a touchdown, or finishing a chapter book, seeing your kid find joy is really what it’s all about.

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6 Responses to My Son is Not an Athlete, and That’s OK

  1. Ash April 12, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    I LOVE this article! As a high school coach, all I want is for my athletes is to love the game/sport and not worry about D1 prospects when they’re 14. And then scrolling to the end and seeing it was from Tara (whose work I’ve admired for years!) was just the icing on the cake. Well done, lady. You keep on rocking.

    • Tara Scheuerman
      Tara Scheuerman April 13, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks so much!! 🙂 This brightened my day!

  2. Lindsay
    Lindsay April 13, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    I love this post. To be honest, I’m pretty disturbed at the level of parent involvement in kid’s sport compared to “our times.” I’m not sure I want to be witnessing every move from the sidelines but rather hear about practices and high/low points from my kids. We should champion our children’s interests and passions rather than corral them into a lane we deem correct. Nice job, “boy mom!”

    • Tara Scheuerman
      Tara Scheuerman April 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks Lindsay! You are spot on!!

    • Karri
      Karri September 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

      Yes to what Lindsay said! As a mom of older kids, sometimes people look at me with a dropped jaw when I mention that both parents don’t go to every.single.sporting.event. Why

      That said, Tara…he will be just fine. You’re doing great. My oldest was never terribly sporty. He sampled a few sports throughout the years and is doing XC right now, but informed us this is his last year b/c he wants to focus on band. And we are 100% on board with that, because music is his passion.

  3. Erica September 19, 2017 at 6:54 am #

    Also love this and am in full support! I was a choir teacher for 10 years and loved creating a space for my creative guys and helping them connect and find other guys like them and also constantly fighting the stigma that straight guys aren’t in music…that could be a whole different article! I already see my two sons blossoming in the creative areas too but try to encourage being well rounded. Also we plan to not allow football even if he is interested! Seriously how do so many parents just ignore the crazy health risks involved in the sport! Keep encouraging him to explore clubs and classes and opportunities that he’s interested in and hell hopefully make connections with other kids who share interests and they’ll suppprt each other. Also from my teacher past I have found that often the parents are more judgementsl then the kids..:we are doing a great job in some areas raising kids who know how to support each other. Have fun watching and seeing where your boys go!

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