“Mom, what do we have going on tonight besides basketball practice?”
“Nothing else, but don’t forget you’ll have homework and will have to read.”
Our conversations before drop-off at school mostly consist of the day’s schedule, usually involving sports. I give a quick one-minute speech advising our son to do his best, listen to his teacher and be nice to his friends. I always end with a short piece on not talking to strangers and throw in an “I love you” for good measure.
It’s his first year of letter grades, and the boy is doing great. This is also the first year my husband and I have had the talk with our son about being a student athlete. School comes first. If you don’t have the grades, you can’t play.
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Our son probably participates in more sports than the average soon-to-be 9-year-old.
Right now he plays basketball, goes to a speed and agility class and takes baseball and piano lessons.
I know where your mind is going. You’re thinking we are those parents, the ones who put their kid in too much crap and the kid can’t be a kid.
Well, before you go there, know that last Sunday we watched nearly five movies together, played video games and even busted out the Legos. The kid gets to be a kid. Get over it.
On a rare week between sports seasons we notice that our son gets bored and lazy. A few homework sheets later and he’s browsing around the house looking for something to do. He’ll normally grab a ball and start playing basketball, using the small goal behind his bedroom door.
Being a student athlete is hard work. Juggling homework with practices is a lot of responsibility. Routines and organization are important.
Our son not only has teachers to learn from but also coaches, all teaching life lessons. Academics and sports have their rewards.
He’s got a little bit more pressure on him than the kid who gets to watch Nickelodeon after that homework sheet. I hope to teach our son that like practicing hard for sports, you also have to practice hard to get good grades.
People often ask him what he wants to be when he grows up.
“A major league baseball player.”
“What’s your backup plan?”
“I like science a lot, so maybe a scientist.”
Stay fit in that classroom, kid.