Sports are for kids to have fun, not to feed your ego

Parents in sports have been the face of conversation for the past few months with LaVar Ball, whose son, Lonzo, is a star for the UCLA basketball team rocking most headlines. 

Let’s all face the facts. Most kids who play sports in high school will never reach the pinnacle of playing sports at a level like the NCAA, or even professionally. Not all of your kids will end up like Lonzo Ball or the next great athlete. It is just a fact. 

Out of the 8 million high school student athletes, only about 480,000 will play in the NCAA. So, my question is, why live your disappointing sports career through your child? 

The message I am trying to convey is: try not to be LaVar Ball. If you have not been following along, Ball has been coming out with outrageous claims, from saying he can beat Michael Jordan one-on-one, to saying Lonzo is already better than Stephen Curry.

As a parent, it is OK to be proud of your child’s accomplishments. Boasting them as the greatest human being on the other hand, is not. Some children will crumble over the heightened expectations from their parents, that are suffocating them and often diminishing their performance on and off the field. 

Two things that sports gave me as a child were memories and life lessons. As a 12-year-old, one of the only reasons you want to play sports is to be with your friends. At a young age, children are being brainwashed into winning. Yes, winning is a great feeling and everyone should get the chance to have that feeling. However, that is not how it works. 

Losing is a lesson everyone will go through in the journey of life. As parents, you have to understand that your child will not be perfect and they are not as perfect as you think. You, as a parent, will have lost numerous amounts of times, and so will your children. 

It is not about how to bring them down, but how you will bring them back up. That is what makes a sports parent a special parent.

Your anger at your child for not playing in their sixth-grade basketball tournament has no relevance to anything, other than the fact that they will have more opportunities later on in life if they keep playing. To me, the whole point of playing sports at a younger age is for the experiences and chance to play. 

To help your child improve is to help them with their game, not yell at them the whole car ride home. The only thing yelling does is make them more likely to fail the next time around.

Nothing is more embarrassing than parents coaching from the sidelines. Your child does not like it, the coach does not like it and other players do not like it. Let the players play and coaches coach. Do you think yelling instructions from the sidelines is really helping anyone out? No. It’s annoying and embarrassing for everyone. You are not only setting examples for your child, but the community and school as a whole. 

As a former high school athlete, I understand parents have high expectations. I understand most parents want the best for their children. However, the best parents are not the ones being “trophy parents.” Do not try to live your sports dream through your children. 

Support your children through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There is a bigger picture here. There will always be more to life than just sports. That is what makes you a great parent on and off the court or field.