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10 reasons kids quit sports

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I wouldn't want this game to count, but this sort of proves what I was saying :  

This was more like our kickball games in P.E. before the 6th grade.  When we played in the backyards, non used baseball fields, parks or vacant lots we played by the rules we learned in Little League Baseball.  If we couldn't have a 9 man team, we modified and shortened the field so that it wasn't too easy to get a hit from a can of corn, because the outfield or infield was too large.  We had different places we could go depending on how many kids showed up that day.  The same with football and basketball.  You had to have smaller fields with less players for football to keep it somewhat reasonable if someone was burned on a pass play.  If only 5 or 3 people showed up one person would be the quarterback for both teams, and we played in the street.  The only sports that we could play one on one was basketball and wiffleball, but with wiffle ball we had to have a short enough infield and outfield so you could be the pitcher/infield/outfield and we had a modified rule that if you were hit by the ball you were out.  

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Looking back, I realized how blessed I was with how my parents were in their support of me, and I can attest to how "playing favorites" can destroy a kid's love for the game. 

In Junior High, I played Soccer, Basketball, and ran Track in a private school. My parents made most of my home soccer games because my mom was not working and my Dad worked about 15 minutes away from the private school I went to. Basketball was the same things, they made most home games. Track was different as we typically traveled far away to places like Longview and Lufkin, but my Mom and Dad always gave me a good luck and a prayer for God to keep me safe and help me do my best. Also, during the Summers, my Mom would take my brothers and myself to Bergfeld Park and play tennis with us. I had two brothers so we would play doubles and we often invited friends over to a sandlot my Dad had made in a clearing in the woods right by our house we used while playing Baseball, and my Mom would come by and watch, and my Dad, who loves Baseball, would come by after the game to make sure we were playing the game right. (hitting the cutoff man, not swinging from the heels, swinging down on the ball, but he was never doing it to show off or to embarrass us, but to teach us. 

When we moved to Grand Saline, I went out for Football. I had never played for a school before but I had always planned on it because had I gone to Lee, I would have gone out for the team. Grand Saline was nearing the end of their run of strong teams and contending teams. My Dad came to a lot of my practices and offered me feedback, but never told me I was a bad player. I was one of the smallest weakest guys on the team, but one of the fastest. He told me to ask the Coaches if they would give me a shot on punt return and kickoff return, because he said, "you are not going to be playing a lot with a group of guys that big and strong, but you can catch the ball and you are one of the faster guys, and don't think you can't do it as well as any of those guys can, because you can." I asked my coach if he would consider that. We had practice that day and he told me to play returner. I remember I had about 10 punts kicked to me, and I fair caught 8 of them and had decent returns on 2 of them. Then, he told me he was going to place me as an upback on Kickoff return in addition to returning punts. If he felt we could score, he put another kid ahead of me who was far more elusive, but when he just wanted a decent field, he put me in. I will always remember that because that Coach never had to even give me a chance, but he did. 

I ended up quitting football after my soph year because I had run Varsity Cross Country as a Soph and my Track/XC coach told me, along with the new Basketball coach that they felt I would get hurt and if I dedicated myself to the sports, I had a "ton of potential" to do well in both. I was on Varsity Track from my Freshman year and Cross Country from my Sophomore year on. My Dad made a ton of my meets, but my Mom had gone back to being a teacher and stayed after school a lot. I started getting letters from Colleges for Track and XC because of my coaches plugging me and sending my stats in. Mainly they were DIII and NAIA schools but I got some looks from Division II schools and Sam Houston offered me a preferred walk on for Track. 

Basketball was different, my parents were both super involved in that. Our Dad taught my brothers and I how to play the game and always told us that we could overcome other teams with more athletic ability by being more aggressive and being better shooters. I remember after my Freshman year, I was sure I was going to make the Varsity full time. After getting cut as a Sophomore and being told I would play some on the Varsity but would mainly be a JV player, I was furious. My Dad went to my first game and I played really well on the JV, but we stayed and watched the Varsity. When we got home he told me "I know it may not sound fair, but you being a better shooter and ball handler than 2 of those guys on the team is not what is going to help the Varsity. They don't have much basketball talent, so they need to have bodies to rebound and play strong inside. I know it's hard, but you need to make the most of your JV playing time and play the hardest you can when you get to play Varsity and show them they need you." 

He and my Mom were always very honest with me when it came to my athletics and told me that while neither my brothers and I were ever going to go pro, that we needed to be the best we could at whatever we did and not to quit. I almost quit Basketball my Junior year when one of the assistant coaches humiliated me in front of the team. I told my Dad I was going to quit with 4 games left in the season, he told me that was not going to happen, finish what you start. 

I know it has been long winded, but I very much am thankful for how my parents navigated through sports and I hope I am like that if or when I have a child of my own. 

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