by Risa Green


I’d like to go on record as a parent by saying that I hate organized sports. Okay, wait: I don’t really have anything against the actual sports themselves – I mean, I like watching them on tv and everything and I enjoyed playing them when I was a kid – it’s just that I hate having to deal with organized sports, you know, as a parent. Now that fall is just around the corner, I’ve been receiving emails from my kids’ soccer coaches regarding the snack schedule (fruit or granola bars only, please), game times (could be anytime on Saturdays from 8-4, depending on the week) and practice schedules (Wednesdays at 6:00 pm. Kill me now), and each one is like a smack in the face, pulling me out of my wonderful, lazy summer and back into the reality of school-year hell. Just the thought of schlepping to games on Saturdays at eight am for my son and then again at two pm for my daughter, or to post-dinner practices every week for three months straight, makes me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. There’s a reason why AYSO is nicknamed All Your Saturdays are Over. And yes, I know it’s cute to watch them play in their little uniforms and their cleats and shin guards, but really, it’s not so cute that I couldn’t live without it.


And I would – live without it, that is – if it weren’t for my husband and his stupid mantra about how team sports build character, blah, blah, blah. I mean, yeah, I’m sure they do, but isn’t one team sport enough for said character building? Like, couldn’t they just play basketball and call it a day? Do we really have to do soccer, basketball, and softball/tee-ball? Is it really necessary to ruin every Saturday of the entire school year when the damage could easily be limited to just one season? Apparently, the answer is no. Apparently, it is important to expose them to all sports early on so that they can figure out which one they love enough and/or are really good at, to pursue later. Because, you know, they will pursue one later. If I ever dare suggest that maybe one or both of our kids might not love or be good at sports, my husband simply puts his hands over his ears and sings really loud so that my poisonous woman words won’t infiltrate his sports-loving guy brain. So fine. They’re going to play. But I told him, any games before ten am are his responsibility, because I’ll be sleeping in.



As school starts each year, I look at two things...first, do my girls want to play a sport and second (but more importantly), what time are the practices. Our 6th grade girls volleyball team practices from Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm. With two younger siblings with a bedtime of 8pm and our 40minute commute to boot...her participating became a no brainer. No way!! Thankfully, she didn't even ask to play. The soccer & volleyball practice schedules of the younger two are much more manageable this year. I'm just hoping that neither one of them develops a passion for either sport, so it won't hurt so much to say no when their practices start creeping up the clock.


This is why we limit our kids to one sport per season. We don't do stuff during the summer (our neighbors all rave about swim team but I just cannot do it). As a soccer coach though, I wish I could have more than one hour of practice per week for my team. If the kids all showed up on time, it would be ok, but they don't. Also, the kids don't run around like they did when I was a kid and they only have PE once a week, so they aren't in very good shape for the games on Saturdays. I can't get them in shape and teach them soccer in one 45 minute practice per week. I want my girls to play soccer now, so that when they finish college and move to a new city for a job or move with their own family someday, they can make friends and stay in shape just by joining a soccer team. I don't care about college scholarships or professional teams.

I hate snack schedules and trophies and this season our county has told us not to do them at all which is nice. In past seasons, it was always 1 or 2 parents who bugged me to do these. Now to find room in my kids' rooms for all the dumb bobble-head trophies from the last season.



I agree with your perspective when it comes to kids being overscheduled and pressured to be the best at a sport where they will clearly never reach the top 10. Also, I think kids learning balance is just as important as team building.

Here is where is disagree big time, we have a huge obesity problem with children in our country and I am guessing it does not start with any child lucky enough to choose every sport they want to play and have supportive parents cheering them on, after all an 8 a.m. soccer game seems like a much better idea than an 8 a.m. pop tart followed by a Playstation marathon.


I totally understand the loathing of organized sports. This year, I have on playing fall ball, which overlaps the start of soccer. This is causing him to have to decide between sports and not giving either one his full attention. As soon as soccer ends, TKD starts followed by basketball. Right now, we have baseball games 2 nights a week, soccer practice 2 nights a week and a game on Saturday. Next month, my little one starts soccer on Saturdays and then dance. Add to that, my husband works nights and weekends and I have no idea how everyone is getting where they need to be.


BTW - Can we talk birthday parties too! Talk about eating up your weekend schlepping from one party to the next. I am determine to decline half the party invites my kids get so that we can do our own thing!


Hear Hear! My son cried last year when I told him we had to go to baseball practice for the first day. I called the coach and said we were out. We didn't miss it one bit. We did so many other things. We will do soccer this fall, and if we miss a practice or a game - oh well. After that I hope I can resist the peer pressure (from the mom's) to put him into any other sports. I'm thankful that this 6 year old was wise enough to help me slow down with him. By the way - our practice is at 4:30 on Fridays and I work - so I am again leaning on my Stay at Home mom's to help get him there. Thank goodness for them!


I hear you yellin' and screamin.' Just got the soccer schedule for my second grader; practices are Mon or Tues 5:30-7pm. OK, my kids are in bed at 7 on school nights, and I work full time. You do the math. This after a Spring of evenings and weekends ruined by baseball practices and games. I have finally had enough - I called the league and asked for my money back. My son doesn't even LIKE soccer - he just plays because everyone else does. He has ballet class and Nutcracker rehearsals, which he loves; music lessons, which he insists on; and it would be nice to have some free time, too. I'm done with organized sports year round: one per year is more than enough.