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Sometimes I still wake up on a Saturday morning and feel as if I should be putting on my softball uniform, hopping in the car with my parents, and driving to a softball tournament. I still miss being outside for 14+ hours a day, slapping on bottles of sunscreen and pretending it wasn’t 90 degrees outside while wearing long softball pants.

I am sure many of you have kids playing in summer sports right now. On the mornings when you seriously question your sanity and why you are spending all your weekends waking up at 6 am to drag you kid out of bed for a game, I want to remind you of some the lessons playing sports has taught me.

1. Persistence. At a young age, sports teach us how to be persistent. To not give in when things are challenging and to continue to work hard even when you are constantly struggling.

2. Integrity. For young athletes, we are constantly told to “play hard”. However, what kids should really be taught is the difference between “playing hard” and “playing dirty”. You can play your heart out and leave everything on the field without playing dirty towards the opposing team. This is a lesson that will continue into their teenage and college years, as kids start to develop a sense of pride in who they are, but still learning to respect others.

3. Time management. Since the age of 12, this phrase has been drilled into my head: “15 minutes early is on time, and on time is late” (and being late meant that you didn’t see the field). This has carried on into my young adult life and makes me show up 15 minutes early to just about anything. Time is a very valuable thing and learning how to manage my time efficiently is a lesson I can’t thank sports enough for teaching me.

4. Attitude. If sports have taught me anything, it is how to be positive in a negative situation. You can’t control much in life, but what you can control is how you react and treat others. As kids grow up, this is a lesson that will be the most apparent to those around them. A positive mindset is something that cannot be bought.

5. Passion. Fostering a kid’s love for the game is one of the things I am most grateful to my parents for. They saw the passion and drive I had in softball, and they helped me to grow that passion- through every late-night practice, early morning game, new equipment (that I probably begged for) and private lessons. They showed me that if there was anything I wanted to achieve; they were going to dream my dream with me.

While at times it might seem completely crazy, I am here to tell you that one day your kids are going to thank you. They are going to feel exactly like I do- grateful, appreciative, and humbled. To know that my parents supported a dream of mine and gave everything to allow me to chase it is something that I will never forget. I promise in the years to come your kids will feel the same way I do.

So take in all the early mornings, embrace every game/inning/quarter. And remember that you only have so many summers to get to watch your kid play the sports that will inevitably teach them more lessons than you can even begin to fathom.
-Alyssa Johnson, FITT-RX Personal Trainer

P.S. Thanks Mom & Dad

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