Today is the 285th day of the year and my two kids have played in 236 games and participated in 137 practices. That's 373 youth sports events in 285 days. My wife and I have logged 13,000 miles just going to and from sports games. I'm not sure how many water bottles we filled and washed or how many loads of uniforms and practice jerseys we have washed. Lots of time and effort goes into our youth sports obsession. Of course, our kids are not just athletes. Both are terrific students and are involved in non-sports extracurricular activities as well. It's pure insanity I know.
To do this you need two very dedicated parents with a passion for their kids and sports. My wife and I wouldn't commit to this schedule if we weren't on the same page because a schedule like this could put a strain on a marriage.
While we concentrate a lot of time and emotional energy on our kids, we don't forget about each other. We believe that one of the greatest things that we can give our kids is a happy and healthy marriage. My wife and I both came from broken families and know the toll that divorce can take on kids, so we constantly work at our 15 year marriage. Of course it helps that we are both compatible sports nuts.
Here's some marriage advice for Crazy Youth Sports Parents.
- Have a date night every week without kids. (Fall Ball Baseball Saturday nights is killing this for us in Sept and Oct.)
- Get on the same page about the sports schedule - jointly decide what to do and not do. And when too much is too much.
- Go to every youth sports event together to share the memories. Of course, when you have multiple kids you need to divide and conquer. When you are apart, text sports updates or provide play-by-play over the phone.
- Finally, take a TIME OUT from youth sports and go away alone for uninterrupted time together. This past weekend we took a break from youth sports and drove to Nemacolin Woodland Resort in Western Pennsylvania for a 50 / 25 / 20 / 15 celebration. My two sisters and my two brother-in-laws met us there. My older sister turned 50 and was celebrating her 25th anniversary. My younger sister was celebrating her 20 anniversary and my wife and I celebrated our 15th.
The Nemacolin Woodland Resort is a great getaway for active youth sports parents. There is so much to do. (Actually it is a great place for young athletes too. We intend to take our kids there one day soon.)
Over two days one or more of us did the following
2) High-wire Obstacle Course
4) Miniature Golf
6) Beer Tasting Festival
7) Dog Sledding
9) Jeep obstacle course
10) Fine dining and lots of drinking
We did not do the following because we did not have the time or the activities were totally booked
2) Skeet shooting
4) Golf (Two spectacular courses)
6) Antique Car Museum
7) Antique Plane Museum
9) Learn to fly fish
10) Horseback riding
We had a great time. We only missed 1 basketball game, 1 golf match and 1 basketball practice. It was actually the State Cup Soccer Semi and Finals weekend. My wife and I rolled the dice that scheduled the weekend thinking that the team was not quite good enough this year to make it to the final four weekend like we did last year. We were right so we did not miss any soccer.
The Main Point
The over-scheduled youth sports world we live in can make life stressful for kids and parents.
My advice go to as many youth sports games are you can and enjoy watching your kids play. It will all be over before you know it. And periodically take a TIME OUT away from your kids sports schedules and your kids for a couple of hours per week and a couple of days per year to connect with your spouse.