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BostonBrew

Kids and Sports

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I had a discussion with a cousin at a recent family get-together and thought it would be interesting to see others' responses. We were talking about all the crap that goes on with other sports. Mainly football (physical abuse, NCAA recruiting violations, drug abuse, character flaws i.e. Aaron Hernandez), baseball (PED use), and basketball (more NCAA recruiting violations, the culture of AAU).

I then mentioned that, hypothetically, if I had kids, I would direct them towards golf. Not just because I'm an avid golfer, but because of all the benefits of the game on their character and health. She agreed because she likes that its a game people can play for most of their life, the networking benefits that come along with it, and that its less physically abusive.

So are we with the majority of people in this line of thought? Obviously there are the die-hards who think football, baseball, and basketball are the only "real" sports.

Is this the possible cause for seeing more and more athletic types playing golf?

We also acknowledged that there are those who would say you shouldn't "push" kids in a certain direction, but should let them choose. And to that I would say I'm not holding a gun to their head. I'd simply be trying to influence them in a direction I believe they would benefit greatly from, like telling them not to use drugs.

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I believe that, first and foremost, children (people) are either sporty or not. It's a blanket generalisation but it seems to hold pretty well from what I've seen. The top sportsmen and women seem to be the cream of any sport they want to turn their hands to. And if they are really lucky they will be exceptional in one and possibly make it to the top levels.

I introduced golf to my two boys because they have always enjoyed sport and exposure at an early age to as many potential interests could only help them. (And I secretly hoped it would be something we could always do together as I get older.)

Luckily, golf seems to be one of the big things with the older boys at school the past few years and they enjoy it very much. The eldest just turned 10 (today) and is now allowed to join the local club so that was his birthday present from us, and they have a great summer schedule of two mornings a week for the whole of the summer holidays which start this Friday.

Yes, the discipline and character building aspects of the game are very nice but if I tried to influence which of the sports they decided on playing the most it would be impossible. They are both quiet but strong willed, and when asked by other club organisers if he would join them for some outings they have point blank refused until they wanted to do it themselves. Participation was more influenced by his friends than anything I could say.

So I suppose that is the real answer I'm suggesting here. You can try and influence, and it may have some effect, but if they are not interested in sport, forget it . And if they are, then it really helps if they have friends or older kids around them to guide them as they probably have more of an influence on them than us parents do.

He really can't wait to start but we still have to fit in the rest of the sports. So far the list goes something like: hurling, gaelic football, soccer, cycling, swimming, horse-riding, and who knows what else I have left out because my mind is a blank from the endless driving around I have to do to all these places...

Still, better than watching them turn into lump of lards in front of the TV all day!

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