Children are just like us: no matter what, there’s a risk to everything they do. We want them to go out with friends, but I don’t know any parent that doesn’t worry when their child isn’t in their sight. Anything can happen and if something did, we’d second guess our decision to let them be free. The truth of the matter is we can’t bubble wrap them as much as we’d love to. All we can do is protect them in the best way we’re capable of, and hope that fate or whatever you believe in follow suit.
Case in point: putting your child in a sport. Organized sports are an incredible thing for our children. It teaches them sportsmanship and discipline. They get a ton of exercise, and they get to befriend people outside of their little circle at school. I fully support those youth organizations that help our children both physically and mentally. I would dare to argue that putting a child in some sort of organization that teaches discipline and sportsmanship helps that child grow up with team building skills. After all, they do enforce that there is no I in team. For the record and on a side note, I do hate that expression but the song is good.
The downfall of sports is the risk of injury. My son plays baseball, and does well at it. Of course everything has a risk, but the risk always seems higher when your child is just as graceful as you are. And if you’re as impossibly clumsy as I am, you spend more time worrying than you probably should. Every bruise he gets from pretending he’s a goal tender with line drives, I wonder if I should’ve signed him up for a chess team for 9 year-olds. He hits himself clumsily with his bat, and you really second guess this. He enjoys it though, and it’s something he’d love to continue on with. As much as we fear harm, sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and support them. It could be worse, he could want to be a skateboarder or an X-Game BMX star. On Saturday his team had a game against their bitter rivals, and yes I’m just as in awe that a little league team has bitter rivals that young. His first up at bat was successful, he drove the ball and took the base. The next up at bat he did make it on base, but it was a lot less successful. The batter before him gets hit in the leg, he shakes the leg and takes his base. My son takes the plate, and he’s ready and determined to smack this ball in the outfield. The ball, it had other plans. The pitcher pitches and before my son could react, there he was on the ground. The ball went straight to his head.
As a parent on the sidelines, you don’t have time to react. If we had blinked, we would’ve missed this entirely. We didn’t blink though, and as soon as he went down, he stood up and gave us a thumbs up while running to first base. He was fine, and he was fine because we spent a few extra dollars on a well padded and sturdy helmet. Even though we can’t be there every second, we can still give them the tools to be safe. The bat he uses is second-hand, his batting and catching gloves are the same he’s had since he’s started. This year, we decided with kid’s pitch we’d rather be safe than sorry and bought extra protection for him. That moment, I was thankful we had. I was also thankful we’re crazy parents to know the signs of concussions or head injury. I’m also not ashamed to admit I didn’t sleep that night and constantly checked on him while he was sleeping. Sports are a great activity for your children, but the better thing you can do is to make sure they are well protected because you never know what could happen.