Hurray for sport

Over the summer we’ve developed the loveliest family tradition on a Saturday morning. We stay in bed for a sleep-in (during the baby and toddler years I truly thought this would never, ever be a part of my life again) while the children entertain themselves. Then we have a leisurely family breakfast with the kids helping their dad make crepes for us all. But this came to a halt this weekend with the return of 8am soccer games followed back-to-back with netball trials. Daylight saving has ended and winter sport has started.

While I may moan slightly about the end of my weekend sleep-ins, I love seeing my children involved in sport. Obviously sport has great benefits for both sexes, but I remember reading Steve Biddulph’s excellent book Raising Boys when my own son was still tiny, and getting an idea of how important sport is in the male world. Sport allows boys to be part of a community that may not otherwise be available to them.

As Steve says,” Because sport is the main place where men and boys interact, it is often where boys can work through in a practical way their values for life. From a tender age, when they can barely hold a bat or a ball, little boys learn how to –

  • Be a good loser (and not cry or punch someone or run away if you lose)
  • Be a good winner (be modest and not get too ‘up yourself’, and so avoid ill feeling)
  • Be part of a team (to play cooperatively, recognise your limitations, and support others’ efforts)
  • Give it your best effort (training even when you are tired, and keeping on trying your hardest)
  • Work for a long-term goal or objective (and making sacrifices to achieve it)
  • See that almost everything you do in life improves with practice

“Parents will go to endless trouble so that their kids can play sport. The benefits are clear – fun, fitness and fresh air, character-building, friendship, and a sense of achievement and belonging.”

Raising Boys is available here