BeBe was recently invited to try out for a select soccer team. After considering a few factors, we decided to turn this invite down. But I have to tell you, knowing many of her teammates were moving forward with the try outs caused me to second guess the decision. However, after talking with my husband and some friends with older kiddos – we made the right decision for our kid.
Initially, it was because of the high cost (over a thousand dollars a year) and the time commitment that we declined the invite. The select team would practice twice a week in another town, with games on Saturdays during spring and fall and tournaments in the summer. BeBe loves soccer but for the short six-week season she currently plays. By the end of the season she is ready to be done. She’s a kiddo that loves to try new sports, camps, and art activities. Playing in that select soccer league would eat into all her free time. Maybe if she was a kiddo that only loved one sport and didn’t have an interest in as many activities, we would have considered this option, but that’s not her.
For a moment, I was concerned other kids’ soccer skills would take off and if she ever wanted to play on those teams in the future, she wouldn’t be able to compete. After talking with friends that have older kiddos who have done select sports, they all warned me about the same issue: burn out. Their kiddos started playing select soccer young. They were really good, and they all invested money and plenty of family weekends. But now those same kids don’t want to play the sport anymore. Those kiddos are completely burned out and right around the age of middle school. My hope is that my kiddos try different sports and activities and find something that holds their interest in upper elementary school or middle school. Not for the athletic experience, more so because that is when peer group issues start coming up. It’s nice to have different groups of friends at that age.
Among some parents, there is already talk about pushing kids to do well in sports and get a scholarship for college. Yes, in first grade this comes up. However, I come from an athletic family and scholarships are not always the best route. One family member was offered a scholarship but didn’t like the school (the academics or the culture), so they turned it down. Another family member played Division I athletics and it completely dominated their college life – it’s intense and not for everyone.
Another issue for me, it just seems like too much pressure for BeBe at this age. Every kid is different, but for her, I want sports to be fun for a long time. I don’t want the pressure of practices and competition yet. Maybe in a few years if she has the passion and wants to play, but not now. It’s hard though. BeBe is an athletic kid, she likes to play and would probably do well in this league, at least initially. Like all parenting decisions, you just have to hope you are making the right decision at the time and not regret it later.