Turning to Fall: Competitiveness and Inclusion in Team Sports
Hello MIP patients and families!
I love fall and everything it brings – cooler temperatures (I am openly ginger), back-to-school, and of course football and other fall sports. I enjoyed playing football, watching my son play football and now I am working with MIHS varsity as their team doctor. My son’s first football coach, Coach T, used to describe football as the ultimate team sport. Everyone on the field has a job and you can be the most valuable player and never touch the ball. This ethos was instilled in all the players and it lead to a wonderfully supportive, collaborative, and just fun introduction to playing football. I think my son’s team lost almost every game his first season. But I remember when they scored a touchdown, even in a loss, it was like the Super Bowl to them!
Just like for me, as my kids got older, sports became more competitive. Naturally, there are some athletes who are more talented, more dedicated, stronger, bigger or faster, and that leads to greater success athletically. Although I admire and respect these athletes, it saddens me that this increased level of competition leads to young athletes being cut from teams and ultimately quitting the sport. Even worse, this can result in individuals giving up on sports altogether. As parents, we have to work really hard to provide the messaging that even though most of us will not make a career out of sports and most of us will eventually be “cut” from a team, we all need to stay active and enjoy sports at a certain level.
As with many things, my kids have taught me this lesson well. As they have grown up, they have selected “no cut” sports to participate in. With my daughter’s help, I have discovered a new “ultimate team sport” in MIHS Girls Swim/Dive! So, with their inspiration, I am going to join an over 40, six foot and under basketball league, where I will likely be the Lebron James of my team!