Children love sports and they especially loved organized sports teams such as baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and hockey, to name just a few. But now with the coronavirus, almost all spring sports tournaments and competitions have been cancelled.
Elementary school, high school and college students who had hoped for a 2020 spring and summer full of their favorite sports might be feeling rather dejected right now. Yes, the athletic sports associations and ruling bodies may decide to extend eligibility to some students, but that is little comfort to those who had waited so long.
The past few weeks are gone, but what about the next few weeks and months? There is so much uncertainty these days and there are monumental problems facing parents, but the children have their sports dreams and those are important too.
I believe that we can’t just forget about sports because the competitions and tournaments are cancelled or delayed. That is not an option. We need to keep feeding the passion for sports in other ways, even if they cannot practice together and are not allowed to play games.
Here are some of my ideas regarding keeping sports active in the minds of kids, even when they cannot join anything or show their talents:
- Communicate. Yes, above all else, inform your child or student what is happening with the sports programs, if or when there the sports will come back, and if you don’t know just be honest about it.
- Keep asking. If a child has been asking all winter about signing up to play on a baseball team, and now spring has arrived and there is no way to sign up, show him or her your efforts to contact the organizing group and read back any replies. Make sure you continue your efforts on a weekly basis.
- Skill work. Yes, you may not be able to gather in groups to practice, but you may be able to practice and improve your sports skills at home or at a local park.
- Plan for the future. Start blocking out dates when you think the community sport or team will be active and keep the dream alive.
- Create alternatives. If your child has been waiting months for a specific sport, and now it seems like the window of time for it has gone for this year, ask your family members if they could play together and be like a team. Something like this is better than nothing at all, in my opinion.
- Call or email your favorite professional sports teams. There is usually someone responding to fans, so make sure this is a part of your weekly activities. You can always stay connected to professional teams in some way.
Parents, teachers, caregivers, and coaches should do what they can to keep children excited about sports, remind them to exercise and stay fit, and keep letting them know that things will return to normal one day. Sports tournaments and competitions will return one day and the student athletes will be ready.