Athlete's Choice

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Athlete's Choice

Choosing to have your children play a competitive sport is one of the most altruistic and masochistic decisions a parent can make. You will have to take your child to training, at all hours, on holidays and when returning from holidays earlier.

You will have to spend money, and spend it again and again, on things that seem completely futile. You will have to take your child away, wait for hours watching a sport that you may not like. You will have to see your child get tired, unable to take it anymore, unable to handle tasks, friends and sports.

You will have to see your child cry because he is tired, cry because he loses, cry because the coach is not satisfied, cry because on Friday or Saturday night his friends go out and he gets ready for the next match. You will have to see him "make a mistake" because he will put sport before everything else, because he will choose to ditch the "perfect" girlfriend for you because she does not support him, he will get lower grades in school.

And when he goes away from home, instead of spending the weekends with you, he will spend them with his teammates in the sport he loves because of a tournament. And you'll have to fight. But now he is in the tunnel of competitive sport.

He has now lost sight of the priorities in your opinion. But see if his friend's smile after a PlayStation match is the same as when an athlete finishes a workout. See if the friendships he binds around him are as sincere as those in the locker room or during training.

Try asking him if it is better to lose a race or not participate in it. Try looking at the blood tests of a competitive athlete and a child who does not leave the house... You will see that cortisol is not so bad! Remember that an athlete ALWAYS remembers that on the side-lines, waiting for him, after he has lost yet another race, are his mum and dad.

Remember that an athlete, however young, is aware of the efforts made by parents, friends, coaches. Remember that he will cry when he cannot finish studying for the next day in 4th grade, but that all this will help him organize and finish college.

Most importantly, remember that you are giving your child the opportunity to experience a range of emotions that they otherwise could not even imagine. Ask him to explain what it means to be excited, happy, afraid, determined, disappointed, grateful, satisfied, he will be able to tell you.

Ask him, if the disappointment of a bad workout is worth giving up the sport or if it is an excuse to return as soon as possible and try again, and again, and again. Until the disappointment becomes satisfaction. Try!