I can’t imagine that I’m the first one to broach this subject and I’m going to assume that others will agree with my sentiments regarding CYO sports on Sunday. Many kids today play on too many travel/tournament teams that last all year round, take up too much time and cost too much money.
Everyone seems to buy into the idea that these kids need more specialized coaching, a personalized warm-up shirt and a different bag for every sport. Kids don’t need their parents driving them around to practice like a chauffeur in between school, homework and dinner. Then they get home at 9:30 on a school night, after which Mom and/or Dad gets to decompress maybe for 15 minutes before they all fall asleep. They need the time and attention of their family and friends.
Now I realize that they have friends on their team, but that shouldn’t be all consuming. I really enjoy sports and seeing my children enjoying themselves out on the field with their friends. What I don’t really enjoy is being exhausted and seeing my children exhausted after a long week of school and sports only to have it continue through the weekend with no break.
I think parents probably agree with the general gist of what I’m getting at. The problem is that the parents (many of whom seem to be living vicariously through their children), are the ones in charge of scheduling.
If your kid’s team doesn’t do well in local tournaments, there is really no reason to drive two hours only to lose again. Does anybody want to break up a holiday weekend with a two-day tournament? I’m sure Mom just loves taking little Johnny to his games on Mother’s Day. Who are these people that feel like sports are more important than family time?
It might be OK if you had one child and your family was at all the games. The problem comes when you have more than one child. Now every weekend the family is split up. Mom is at Jack’s game with Mary. Dad dropped Timmy off at practice and then had to drive Andy to his soccer tournament. Mom will then take Jack to his next game, pick up Timmy from practice and all the while keep Mary in tow. They will all meet up later at home, maybe eat dinner together if they are lucky and start it all again on Sunday.
Yep, Sunday? The old day of rest. The day when you would get up, go to Mass, have breakfast together and then go to your grandparents’ house and hang out with your mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
This is where children learn how to be adults, by interacting with the older members of their family — not from their friends and unlikely from coaches who are OK with games on Sunday night.
Although most CYO coaches likely agree with me, I think they just passively go along with it because that’s just the way it is.
This needs to change. I don’t necessarily think all sports need to end on Sunday, but I find it absurd that CYO needs to schedule games on Sunday. This past weekend, my children had three games during the week including a game on both Saturday and Sunday. I have six children, but the two we are talking about in this scenario are 11 and 13.
There is no reason why these kids need to play all those games. One or two games a week plus practice is enough for CYO. This is not the major league. They are just kids who want to get out, get some exercise, play with their friends and have fun.
My kids have always had a great time playing CYO sports. I just feel that they would still have a great time without games on Sunday and then have time to have a great time with their family. That’s what it’s about.
When the glory days of sports have faded, you realize it was about having fun, learning how to be a good sport, a good teammate, being inspiring to others, being inspired yourself, picking up your friends (and at times your foes), getting along with each other, competition, listening to your coach and working well as a team.
All of these things are valuable life lessons. Sports should complement your life, not consume your life and the life of your family.
I’m not advocating for the abolition of sports, just CYO on Sunday. One less game a week equals more time for family. There is a reason the Lord rested on the seventh day. It’s important. Let’s work together to make family first.
Thomas Newman is a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Southampton.
Editor’s note: According to the policy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, CYO games and practices are not to be scheduled until after 1 p.m. on Sundays, which underscores Catholic values especially participation in the Sunday Mass. If an exception to the policy is made due to an emergency, teams are required to attend Mass together to strengthen their bond and call to mind that they are representing the CYO as Catholic athletes.
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