Softball. Family.. Commitment…

In softball, and in all team sports – we tend to use a lot of words like respect, commitment, teamwork, dedication. We also use words like family, friends, and extended family. Truth is, our softball families become ‘like family’ and we spend our weekends (and weekdays) and even our vacations together for better or worse.

But let’s be frank. Our softball families aren’t our families. And there is a lot left unsaid when it comes to softball AND family AND commitment.

Today’s view on youth athletics seems to indicate that we have to ALWAYS be a team player, and put the team first, and all other things come second. There is even quite a bit of controversy over playing on Sundays and those who attend Church are often led to have “Church on the dirt,” so they can be present for their teams during Sunday play. Guilted into giving up something they cherish.

What there isn’t enough emphasis on, is that sometimes we find ourselves so busy DOING life, and being apart of the team that we forget how to be a family at home. Today, we wear the busy badge like a medal of honor. We all do it, this isn’t judgment. We joke about taking our vacations with the team, and not being home enough to cut the grass, or constantly having to snag food on the go. We post on social media about how busy busy busy our lives are – and feel almost smug about it.

There is a ton of pressure for families to be ready and available ALL the time as the definition of commitment. We are handed practice and game schedules, sometimes with extensive travel requirements and it is just ‘understood’ that it is our obligation to be there. You get it.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING COMMITTED AND INVESTED IN YOUR TEAM. NOTHING AT ALL. But look, it needs to be OKAY, and VALUED, and not a compromise of committment if, no – not IF -when you want to spend time with your actual family. Alone.

This isn’t to suggest that you should just back out of something at the last minute, or neglect your responsibilities as a team player – but we also have a responsibility to be a family.

We have a responsibility to not become so busy, and so infatuated with busy – that we lose sight of the fact that the family unit is important too. And coaches, and team schedules, they need to be respectful if you want to take off for a weekend and go camping with the kids. They need to be respectful if you want to take a vacation somewhere else than to a softball tournament. Other families on the team, they may not like the fact that you are missing two practices and maybe even a game to take a long weekend doing something with your immediate family, but it is important too. And they don’t have to approve.

You may not see it, but sometimes we all get so busy for so long that when we are unbusy we realize it isn’t only the grass that has been neglected. We get so caught up in the to-do’s and the game days, and the social life – that we forget how to be quiet and still and a family.

It is possible to have both the softball family, and the family and a level of commitment that enables you to feel good about being busy and being busy in an entirely different way. Loving on your family. Making memories. Building connections that require privacy and a little bit of selfishness that should NEVER compromise your level of allegiance, devotion, or obligation to your softball family.

When we have our kids sports and activities to distract us, it is very easy and sometimes very convenient to put our family life on hold, and focus on what we think is the most important thing.

Find coaches, and team atmospheres that respect your family, your adult decisions for your family, your schedule as much as they want you to respect theirs.

These years…they do not comeback. Anyways…just some things to think about.

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