Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Sports

My oldest child is an athlete, there's no doubt about it. My husband and I parent our kids believing that they need to be active and involved. We don't want them over-programmed, but we don't want them just sitting around either. Finding something for our first child to do in the fall and winter months was very easy, hockey. He LOVES hockey. I mean the kind of love where he played with pucks at the age of 3 and would rather watch NHL videos than the latest offering from Nickelodeon. He's been playing hockey officially since kindergarten and it's been great. He stays fit and active and he's made a great group of friends. (We have too, nothing like hockey parent camaraderie in a bone-chillingly-cold arena in the middle of January).
Spring and summer sports have been a little trickier. Usually, we put our kids in spring swimming lessons. They are timed well, beginning at the end of hockey season and finishing before school gets out. But what about summer? Should they be involved in summer sports too? My son started with soccer. Of course soccer. Soccer is the go-to summer sport. More kids play soccer than any other summer sport. It's so popular that our town offers two leagues, each league running multiple same aged teams at 3 fields each in different parts of the city. So soccer it was, the summer he was 4.
My son's first experience with organized sports - 2008
And it was...okay.  He liked it well enough, but I found it frustrating.  It wasn't very well organized.   Communication wasn't great.  And he didn't really love it.  It was hard to leave a day out at the beach to come home to soccer.  We did try soccer with him again when he was in going into grade one, an indoor league, and that confirmed it.  Soccer just wasn't his sport.
So we crossed soccer off the list.  We did summer swimming instead.   Then the summer after grade one he wanted to try softball.  Softball!  (Here's where the personal bias steps in).  I love, love, love baseball.  I was a big Seattle Mariners fan growing up.  He has great hand-eye coordination.  Softball would be fun.
My son playing softball in the summer of 2011
And it was fun.  I enjoyed it.  He seemed to enjoy it.  The organization was well, pretty terrible really.  But he was good at it.  So I thought good.  Hockey in the winter and Softball in the summer.  Wrong! As spring of grade 2 came closer with softball registration, he decided he would rather try...lacrosse.
Lacrosse?  I knew very little about lacrosse.  But the posters were up at his hockey arenas with NHL players endorsing the sport.  Anything to help his hockey he really, really wanted to give lacrosse a try.  So we did.  Lacrosse was nothing like I was expecting.  It is a very fast, rough sport, but so much fun! I would be happy watching my kids play lacrosse anytime.  We loved it.
Lacrosse in 2012
So I thought we had a plan, a new plan.  Hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer.  Wrong!  This spring we began to talk about summer plans and he had a new idea.  Yes, he liked lacrosse, yes, he liked softball, but what he really loved was hockey.  And couldn't he go to a hockey camp?  Summer hockey?  Isn't that just what those crazy hockey parents do?  Put their child into summer hockey?  And isn't it crazy expensive?  So we thought about it and researched it.  Absolutely there are some crazy pressure expensive summer options out there, but we found something else.  We found a 4 on 4 league.  A no-pressure game every week for 10 weeks with the same kids at a reasonable cost.
If I had any doubts about summer hockey they were erased the first night he came home from it.  He was beaming, truly happy.  He loved it.  4 on 4 is different than regular season hockey.  There are no face-offs and the on ice players switch at the buzzer every 3 minutes so they get a lot of on-ice time in their hour. 
Summer 2013 - 4 on 4 Summer Hockey
I guess when you love something as much as he loves hockey, there's nothing else. 
Incidentally, my other kids play a summer sport too, soccer.  They love it.
my 3 and 6 year old post-soccer


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