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Soccer Tournament

Ok I have decided not to blog about the actual results of my daughters soccer games. But.. It does make the debate of how hard to push a kid in the activites they particicpate in come to my mind. I have a relatively hard-core approach to it and would really like some discussion or even good links to short reads about it. Not sure my mind could be changed. Might make me feel better though. That's kinda touchy-feely huh??

Obviously instilling pride and work ethic are imperative to good parenting, are there lines to be drawn on that concept?Is it just common sense?? Did Earl Woods do it right or just luck of the draw deal there??

I will be on Blackberry only all weekend so sorry for short sentences.
Cody Heitschmidt
From my BlackBerry


  1. Now we’re talking about something I can really get into: kids, sports and of course, feelings!!

    What’s your struggle—because soccer by day, pick up sticks at night…sounds balanced to me!?

  2. Sarah,

    Here is my struggle...
    My urge is to do soccer by day, go home and practice soccer by night.

    I actually know the answer to my struggle already and it is very simply...


    I truly believe competition and drive are not only good things, they are essential to producing a contributing citizen. It doesn't have to be sports, but some kinda of competition is essential and if your gonna comepete, might as well really go for it, right???

    Ok, my natural urge is to push like crazy, destroy everyone else and always end up on top or find a way to work harder so you do next time.

    Maybe not the healthiest way to approach parenting a 8 and 11 year old huh??

    Balance, I know that's the key, I just needed to air it out in the open so I could force myself to remember that.

    Parenting is just as much learning from your mistakes in parenting as it is doing the right thing the first time around.

    It is not my job to make them world class athletes, it is my job to instill in them the concept that in this great country, you can be whatever you want to be, if you are willing to work at it.

    That can be done without overwhelmingly forcing them to be completely consumed with soccer.

    I think????

  3. When I was a kid, my dad was a softball coach for my sister and me. He was a big time jock growing up, he loved baseball and softball was really the only thing going for girls in the 80s where I grew up, so softball it was.

    Homeboy worked crazy hours in awful places like blast furnaces and steel mills on super hot summer days, yet he still came home, ate some food and changed into his coach gear to teach us the finer points of sportsmanship and competition.

    At the time, I didn't love it. I was pretty good. My sister kicked ass and couldn't get enough, but I definitely would have rather been swimming or reading in my closet because I was a creepy nerd like that. But it was okay. It was just a given growing up--we did softball in the summers. My dad would stagger years that he coached my team or my sisters, and since I was younger, I got to play up a league if her team was short a member, so it was cool. Win or lose, there was always ice cream afterwards, and that was really my motivation.

    No wonder his nickname for me was Lead Butt. But I digress.

    At the time, I didn't appreciate it all that much. I dug it when we won, I didn't care so much when we lost. I enjoyed making awesome plays and hitting the ball far enough for my slow ass to maybe make it to third base. My dad, even though he was way into winning, was never a dick. He'd play the worst players, taught the best players to work with the weaker ones and always made us feel good about ourselves.

    He promoted sportsmanship, teamwork and having fun, but he was a good coach--we always had respectable stats, and we always had a good time but we'd always leave a losing game knowing what we would be working on at the next practice.

    Now that I'm older, the benefits of having parents who made me get off my lazy butt and get involved with team sports are a lot more clear. Not only was it family time, and being connected to the community, it was just an all-around socializing thing. It had all the earmarks of the balance you and Sarah are talking about. Physical activity, teamwork, problem solving, feeling good about winning, learning how to deal with losing graciously and, of course, ice cream.

    Cody, it's nice that you're actually concerned with where that line is. I think as long as your kids don't become obsessed or depressed when it comes to any activity, as long as they're usually having fun (let's face it--all things are not always fun when you're a kid, but average it out), as long as their hearts seem in it and everyone (you and your kids) are in it for the right reasons, I think it's all good.

    My dad is Mr. Enthusiasm. He will rant and rave about anything that he thinks is cool, and that included softball. Like I said, my sister was way more into it than I was, and they could chatter about softball all the livelong day when we were kids. Does that demonstrate a lack of balance? Heck no. They were having fun, and he didn't make me feel like a jerk because I just wasn't passionate about it and wanted to do other things. I just knew that part of the balance was that I had to get out of the pool and into my scratchy polyester stupid softball uniform at 4 pm three days a week. And because of that, I learned how to be a reasonably good athlete, a great team player, and I learned that just because I don't really want to do something all that much because I tend toward being lazy and antisocial doesn't mean that I can't have a good time, anyway.

    Balance IS key, you're right. And if you feel like you're pushing too hard, maybe you are. Just talk to your kids and make sure they're doing it for the right reasons, and not just to make you happy. But the fact that you're worried about it makes me think you're doing fine.

  4. We just had a great discussion here in the office about the baseball coach of our secretary's grandson. They discussion maninly focuaed on how this coach is a pretty serious coach but that he takes a really positive approach to his coaching. After every pratice and every game his first question is, "did you have fun?" He then talks a lot about attitude, sportsmanship and fun.

    I think we forget sometimes that compettition is fun for some of us and is NOT fun for others.

    Remember the balance. Remember to use those acres out in the country for your kids to have unstructered time with nature - with and without you.

    Over the weekend, I was reading some parenting articles about this very topic. Often, the example of a parent modeling the values we want for our kids was cited as the best way to instill those values. Cody, you are nothing less than a good example. I would encourage you to balance those intense desires with compassion and empathy.

    The best feeling in the world will come when your kids come to you and ask you to come outside and practice soccer (insert other appropriate activity)with them. Then you know the desire is truly theirs.

  5. Funny how we usually always know the answer, and just choose to ignore it sometimes.

    I agree competition is the perfect place to learn life lessons--I couldn't imagine growing up without some sort of competition. Remember, too, your kids will be learning from you as they watch your reaction to their activities, winnning or losing. It you are raising a phenom, of course, you want to give them every opportunity to be great at that thing...but you'd be doing a disservice to your child if that's all they knew.
    But when do you hear of truly great athletes that didn't dedicate their lives to being great at that one thing? I think it takes a very strong child to take their talent to the next level--to dedicate to becoming great. But, you have to be the parent and recognize when enough is enough. For now, drive all over the country, practice at home, cheer like crazy--but be careful and watch for signs that you are pushing too hard. When you see those--really listen to your child and see what she wants to do. And don't be disappointed when she chooses hanging out with friends over another soccer tournament.

    I don't have kids that age and I know better than to say, "we'll never do that," but I can't imagine being at tournaments every weekend. I know if your kids love it, you'll do it, but just the time/cost of all of that boggles my mind a to that for me.

    I didn't do too much research for ya, but here's an interview with Cal Ripken Jr... and here's a more touchy-feely one

  6. Nora,

    Your comment makes me want to stop authoring this blog and just give you my password so you can just write it for me. That is the new greatest Cody Talks comment ever and right along the lines of what I believe. Sometime I just gotta remind myself. I want my kids to look back at me like you talk about your Dad in that comment. Same way I look back at my Dad.

    Incredible comment as well. The best part is at the end when you say, "The best feeling in the world will come when your kids come to you and ask you to come outside and practice soccer (insert other appropriate activity)with them. Then you know the desire is truly theirs."
    That has already happened several times, and it is the best. Not only is the desire theirs but they are actively choosing to ask you to do something with them. Sometimes I just want them to ask more?!?!?


    Your comment just sucked.

    I am kidding and laughing my ass off right now imagining your reaction to me saying your comment sucked. I think your comment is also the perfect summary, the phenom part really made me think as well. I think part of the battle is being mature enough and realistic enough and happy enough with yourself to deal honestly with the phenom question. i.e. is your kid going to be a phenom at this particular activity??? If so what do you do? If not what do you do?? How/when do you know?? Does it matter at all in the way you do things???

    It's actually a big part of it, alot of folks think there kids are gonna be phenoms and in-turn ruin the whole damn experience by placing that expectation on the kid.

    That might just be a whole nother post.

  7. Cody, you're mental. If I got to write your blog, I would unleash my inner evil genius and you would be sorry. But it would be funny, I promise you that.

    You'll be fine. If you're asking yourself those questions, let alone anyone in cyberspace who feels like chiming in, you're ahead of the game.

  8. My background for leaving a comment - parent, coach, coach of a child who plays, sports enthusiast, and family therapist. Short answer - who knows? Long answer - a little more complicated but pretty much the same result.

    I believe the key to almost any problem is effective communication. Remember, you cannot not communicate. If you are always listening to your child you should have a good understanding of where they are with your intensity. However, you have to remember that you are constantly communicating as well - not just verbally but with non-verbals as well. Complete silence after a game could say a lot more than telling your child you wished they would have tried harder. It leaves your emotions completely up to their guess work.

    I read through pretty much all of the comments previously posted and they all hit some very good points.

    A suggestion I would give is to emotion coach your children. There is not a time when you or your child doesn't open your mouth when you are feeling something. Are you aware of what you are feeling? Are you aware of what your child is feeling? Help them label what they are feeling. Set limits on behaviors, but not emotions. Reassure them that no matter the outcome, love is not conditional. Self-esteem can be very fragile - ask yourself what are you doing to encourage them to feel better about themselves? Good strong effort given in any and all aspects of life will reap good rewards. - Such rewards as a pounding on the field and in the classroom.

  9. Derrick is a good friend of mine and the person I felt most qualified to answer here and not have it just be a wild ass guess.

    I knew he would be able to get a little more analytical than the rest of us, but I also know he is a common sense guy that isn't completely full of psycho-mumble-jumble.

    Thanks a bunch Derrick, thanks to all of you.

    This has easily been my favorite set of comments so far. I really think this type of discussion will lead to better parenting occurring.

    Who knows if all of our political bantering will ever do any good.


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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