Organized sports can do wonders for dads, moms, and kids alike. But some families get lost down the rabbit hole. So here’s a good question: Is recreational sports running your family life? If you don’t remember the last time you got together with your best friends for a Saturday night barbecue, it might be. Or if one parent, or both, spends more time than not ferrying various children to various practice sessions, games, and trips. Or if the last time you had a family dinner together was on a road trip.
Playing recreational sports is great, but it’s too easy to run into a “tail wagging the dog” scenario and overlook that practices, games, and travel schedules have taken over. If you find that recreational sports runs your family life, it’s time to remember that playing sports is just one piece of an often complex family puzzle. Sure, a lot of kids have a blast playing. And no one wants a child to be benched because he or she missed a practice. But it’s smart to be aware of the signs that show the cost is too high. Ask yourself these 5 questions to see if recreational sports have taken over your family.
1. Are there too many demands on your time?If we’re not careful, we give away our family a piece at a time.
If we’re not careful, we give away our family a piece at a time. The recreational sports piece can get to be huge. The point is: The coach, the team, and the other parents are not the ones in a position to demand anything.
2. Are sports pushing other important commitments aside?
The coach says you have to be at the soccer tournament Sunday morning, “because you made a commitment to this team!” Well, what about the commitment you made to provide a consistent spiritual community for your family? What about the commitment to create a healthy balance among everything you care about?
3. Do you ever eat dinner together as a family?
Family mealtimes, especially dinner, are the premium venue for conversation, wisdom, questions, teachable moments, family devotions, training in manners, and so much more.
4. Are your family members always going somewhere (and not to the same places)?
Home is the nucleus of family life, and we miss out on the deep-rootedness of home when every evening is a carpool and every weekend is a travel team road trip.
5. Has something fun and developmental turned into something too serious?
“I don’t know if my kids have ever enjoyed a pick-up game of anything,” Jesse said. “Do games always have to have uniforms, referees, bleachers, coaches, titles, and trophies?” We get Jesse’s point; too much is at stake. A kid’s game is simply supposed to be fun, right?
Sound off: How do you evaluate your family’s priorities when participating in recreational sports?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the most important thing to you about playing sports?”