Things Grown-ups can learn from watching youth sports.

Man, there has been some real garbage happening in this world. There have been a few crappy days with reminders of hugging our loved ones a little tighter still fresh in our minds and hearts.

It’s true, people can be butt-heads. In these times, I like to remember Mr. Rogers telling us to look for the helpers. And boy have there been some helpers lately. Humans have a tendency to group together, help their neighbors, and hug a stranger when tragedy strikes…. But for how long? Quickly, almost too quickly, we forget the reminders that were harshly forced upon us and we return to our, bi-partition, blame the other guy, it’s “his” fault finger pointing yelling. Usually yelling too loudly to hear what anyone else has to say. I think it’s time for a nice reprimand from today’s kids.

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World’s Kindest Human

Last Saturday, I was at the local YMCA and watched a bunch of 7-9 year olds play basketball followed by a bunch of 3-4 year olds play soccer and it got me thinking. Why in the world do we quit acting like kids? More to the point, why in the world do we quit treating others like humans? I made some notes while my kids weren’t playing, I’m trying to get better at “being present” and it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. But anyways, here’s a few things I noticed.

Always cheer for everyone:

It’s not a hard concept. Someone does something good you cheer, doesn’t matter the team.

Try to make your hurts unintentional:

Stop hurting people, especially on purpose. If you do hurt someone, apologize and help them up. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the other team, help them up! Sometimes that means grabbing their hands and helping them help themselves. Sometimes, that means you just sit down next to them. Sometimes, it means grabbing them under the arms and lifting them up quickly so they don’t get knocked over again. That usually requires someone stronger, like a coach, or a referee. Or maybe it is the random parent sitting on the sidelines that blocked the kid from knocking his head against the bleachers but whatever the situation, help people stand back up.

Knowing the right direction is hard:

Like, really hard guys. Especially once you think you know where you’re supposed to be going and then they switch it on you half way!

Slow down so you don’t miss the goal:

If you start dribbling too fast, you’re going to fly right past the net and straight into the wall. Literally. You’ll miss the point if your coach has to body block you from getting a concussion. Slow down, think about what you’re doing, and you’ll have a much better chance to score.

Get your poker face ready:

This one was more for the parents. Alright, honestly, it’s for me. I have the worst poker face. If someone starts talking garbage about my kid or my kid’s team, I find it difficult to lock it down. Should it bother me? Nope. It’s clearly the other person’s personality fault. It’s kid’s sports, it should be fun. If they are taking it too seriously, that’s their problem, not mine. I should take pity on them, not shoot daggers out of my eyes at them. They don’t deserve the satisfaction of knowing that they hold any power over me. I’m still working on this one……………

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Appreciate the small stuff:

Like a butterfly going by. Or dirt. It’s a stereotype for a reason guys. After a week of rain, your fields are going to be muddy. Just give into it. Sure, you’re there to play soccer but, sticks and mud are just as cool. And if it makes you happy, take time to enjoy it. And rub your shoes in it. And roll in it. And put your ear in it to try to hear if it makes a sound. Basically, anything that will make your mom cringe and make her strip you down before getting in the car is a good move. Just take a moment to do what makes you happy.

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Break down and cry:

Sometimes, life is hard. It’s mean and cruel and you’re done with it. Wither someone took your ball, or that butterfly you have been staring at flew away. It could always be something more serious too, like that piece of grass is funny or your water bottle betrayed you and splashed your face. It doesn’t matter the reason, or if you even have a reason, it’s ok to break down and cry sometimes.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have a teammate come sit with you or a coach hold you until you get your life together. You just have to make it until snack time, which we all know is the best time.

Take a break:

It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world. If you’ve pushed yourself as far as you can, it’s time to take a break. Take the time you need to make sure you’re ok, a quick water break, a few minutes to catch or breathe, or just a nap on the bench. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others.

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I personally know this child and he can sleep anywhere.

I think the thing I noticed the most was that these kids were having fun. Some were serious but once the game was over, it was over. They high-fived, got their snacks and then went on with their day! Maybe it’s the Polish in me, maybe it’s wishful thinking but wouldn’t we all be in better spot if our main goal in life was to have fun, help our team, and just make it to snack time?

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My grandpa’s favorite thing to say, so you know you have room for it.

 

Cause let’s be real, I’m not sure there’s a problem that a team snack and a drink can’t fix.

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