Recreational sports engulf the daily lives of families everywhere and that reality holds true in our very own community. 4S Ranch and it’s thriving neighbors; Del Sur and Santa Luz reflect this current cultural landscape. Without question, we are extremely active and we should be—living in the almost perfect climate of San Diego the crown jewel of Southern California. With the exception of adequate field space to accommodate our growth, (I’ll tackle this quagmire in a future op-ed), we are still second to none in “best neighborhoods to raise a family.” Plain and simple, our lives revolve around the sports schedules of our household's youngest occupants. That’s right, now more than ever, the athletic ambitions of our children dominate our day today. Wait, did I say our kids' ambitions? Let’s not forget those parents who live vicariously through their offspring to relive pipe-dreams, I mean high hopes of one day becoming a professional athlete. Unfortunately, that day has come and long gone and now as parents, we try to provide the best life for our mini-me’s.
Regimented by practices and games, leaving little time to just play catch, our daily grind is more about kids wearing the right cleats and grabbing a stylized water bottle than if they ate all their lunch. Most embrace the activities that give them a sense of purpose, not that the rigors of school work isn’t enough. We tirelessly pressure ourselves to ensure our bundles of joy experience a well-rounded existence and that starts and stops with sports. Exercise is not a big priority in the current school curriculum which is one of the reasons soccer clubs, travel ball teams, and organized athletics thrive in general. Even fringe sports like lacrosse, hockey and volleyball have found a place in the mainstream and hearts of many who’ve abandoned the ever-popular, overpopulated “traditional” sports. No matter what recreation your child gravitates toward there are plenty of leagues, clinics, and private lessons to permeate a schedule that would rival the itinerary of a politician running for office.
Excess in anything is usually not good but we parents are mindful of the consequences of leaving kids to their own (de)vices. That’s right, exposure to the unknowns of social media and the World Wide Web is every parent's nightmare. Growing up, I wasn’t privy to these new-age forms of entertainment, fun was created through initiative and imagination. Now kids often stay home to play on tablets, smartphones, and video games all day with minimal movement or interaction with the outside world. The ramification of inactivity could be less tolerable than the numbness of one's limbs but diminished social skills, obesity and the temptations of peer pressure. Playing on a team can build character, trust and invoke an understanding of tolerance and respect. As a parent and coach, I often feel my own family's sports activities rise to the level of insanity. My wife and I strive to maintain a balance; giving our kids time to relax, reflect and enjoy a good book. That doesn’t change the fact this very weekend my 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter have a combined seven playoff games between them!