Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Priorities: School, Sports, Social Life - In that order.

A friend asked recently "How did you get all your kids to be such good athletes?" I didn't have an answer for her right away because I had to think about it. I guess it's surprising that all 7 of the kids are athletic and love college and pro teams. What I realized in coming up with an answer for her is that kids who excel at sports aren't just born, they're made.
I walked into Rowan and Davey's room this morning to pick up, and I started thinking about my friend's question. As I made Davey's bed I admired his sports themed quilt. I fluffed his pillows and piled the basketball and football throw pillows on top. I sat down in the little blue school chairs near the boys' play table. I found the chairs on the side of the road and they were the perfect shade of blue to match the rugby stripes painted on their bedroom walls. I sorted the laundry piles-a New England Patriots jersey handed down by Landon, a Virginia Tech Football t-shirt, a Boston Celtics sweat suit, a soccer jersey from Italy. Perched on Rowan's bed stand next to his vintage looking baseball lamp was his first trophy-earned for playing T-Ball last season.
Sports is a way of life in our family. We watch the Red Sox together. Dave makes tailgate food for big Navy games or when the Pats play on Sunday's. I follow Michael Phelps on Facebook, sharing pictures from his page with Cal, encouraging him to keep on swimming-to keep breaking records. My kids have seen the Sox play in Boston, Baltimore and Tampa.
So, to answer my friend's question, we didn't just get lucky, we created our brood of sports-loving kids. When parents show kids a good thing, encourage it with enthusiasm and make it a priority, it becomes legend. Cheerleading, gymnastics, ballet, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, track & field, swimming, diving, wrestling, karate-we've played them all. Sports keep the kids busy, encourages team work and who knows, might even end up paying for college. But, if the product of all the expense, time and effort that we have dedicated into creating kids who love sports goes no further than creating 7 more Yankee haters in this beautiful world, it will all have been worth it in the end.

Cal at the start, summer swim All-Stars 2011

Evelyn paddle boarding at Plum Island, MA

Lily's first summer competitive swimming 2011.

Austin, #42, a machine on the field.