Volleyball season starts today for my 13 year old daughter, this starts her last season as an SCS Lady Knight. She loves the sport and we love watching her play. She’s come a long way since she first stepped onto a volleyball court at 7 years old to play in the Police Athletic League, Windward Volleyball at Kailua District Park. Back then the team was assigned orange T-Shirts and called themselves the Smashing Pumpkins (parents may have had some input on the team name). Those “little” kids were so tiny next to the net and sometimes watching those games was downright painful. But Volleyball is a kind of religion in Hawaii, girls college volleyball is often shown on TV and the bars will be full of people watching it so it was taken quite seriously, by even the youngest in the league. Here in Ohio she didn’t re-start volleyball until 4th grade and she has been going strong with it ever since.
She is now a 5’7” tall 8th grader with a mean serve and nasty block and I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds.
Sports teach so much to kids and to parents. It is hard to lose or watch a bad call happen, it is difficult to watch your kid ride the bench, it is frustrating to listen to the other team talk against your team. It is exciting to watch a long and good volley, it is a proud moment when your kid spikes the ball or aces a serve. Our kids play CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) sports and are regulated by CYO and there are rather strict behaviors required of the players, coaches and parents so it is unlikely you’ll run into headline making parent brawls or bench clearing altercations. It reminds people that the sports are for the kids and they are there to enjoy themselves. The kids say a prayer before and after each game regardless of the sport and ask for safety, fair play and a good game. I kind of like that.
At a recent meeting for all parents with kids playing athletics at our school this year – the president of the athletic association mentioned a study he had read about kids and sports and in the study, college age athletes were asked a series of questions including “what was the worst part about games you played growing up?” The expected answers were “riding the bench”, “losing a game”, “bad officials” and others like that, and they did get those answers, but the main response that these young people gave was “the ride home”. When the parents would re-analyze the game, talk about the players, the coach, the officials and say what could or should have happened. I realized that I am sometimes guilty of this with sentences that start like “next time you should…”, or “why on earth did so-and-so do …”, or something like “that official clearly doesn’t have vision insurance” and probably a bunch more. Probably doesn't make for the best ride home after all.
This year I am going to resolve to make a stronger effort to go with positive reinforcement on that ride home – she is 13 years old and has played this game for nearly half of her life. She knows when she makes mistakes and her coach is there to see what needs worked on for next time.
God Help Me