The swim race to everywhere…

I love social media.  I have always been active on facebook.  It’s a great way to keep up with friends and family, near and far.  It’s a great way to share photos and little snippets in to each others lives.  It has also become a great source for sharing opinion pieces.  I’m a very opinionated person myself, I’ll be the first to admit it.  But I’m also cautious with sharing it.  Especially through the use of “articles”.

Facebook has become a constant stream of sharing “articles”.  Because of this I think we have lost sight as to the difference between fact and opinion.  A recent article blowing up my media feed is about kids and sports from the Changing the Game website.  It’s a great website, as parents of children athletes we should constantly be questioning the choices we make for our kids.  Getting a lot of press is a recent post The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports.

This piece is about kids who specialize in a sport – parents, coaches and kids are all forcing kids to specialize at an early age.  And according to this, we are ruining our children.  The article uses words like fear, this system sucks, guilt, cheating, wise up, take a stand…and guilt, guilt, guilt..

I’ll be honest with you.  I have no guilt.  My kids swim.  Every now and then they dabble in an intermural sport at the school but they swim.  Year round.  Competitive swimmers take a total of about 4 weeks a year off.  It’s a year round sport.  There are others, gymnastics, dance, figure skating and golf to name a few.  While this article doesn’t address sports that are considered year round specifically, it certainly doesn’t give them any recognition either.

My first reaction to this article was to defend the choices made by parents and children who do specialize in one sport at an early age.  Who focus on the sport as a year round endeavor.  I made a mental list of the positive aspects or this, the life lessons learned.  Or to be learned.  By the time I sat down to write about it though it didn’t seem important.  I’m tired of being judged.  And that is what all of these articles are starting to feel like to me.  Judgment.  I not only think but I OVERTHINK every single thing I do for my kids.  And you know what?  They are perfectly fine.

The greatest thing about swimming is that it isn’t a Race to Nowhere.  It’s just a race.

I know that all the things left unsaid in this post resonate with my fellow swim families.  We all seem to have the same quiet opinion.

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “The swim race to everywhere…

  1. Yep…resonating over here.
    I have a deep appreciation for opinionated people who don’t feel the need to opinionate about everything. Sometimes its good to just say…*we’re fine*.

  2. I will say I knew next to nothing about swimming in 2007 when my daughter started. As she progressed in the sport I used to talk about the sport in a way that was almost like a badge of honor. See I had this child who loved swimming and the sport basically took over our lives. We all know the story. Kid swims and moves up the ladder some and now she and I spend huge amounts of time at a pool. Like I said this is not news to a swim family. We all get it. And like you say we all get that the season really never ends, especially if you are good.

    Because of the possibility of being judged I no longer really share our schedule with people outside of swimming. First off no one really cares that much what you and your children are doing. But you can easily run into people that will not agree with your decisions for your children and family. I don’t need those people second guessing me. They don’t understand and never will.

    If you understand swimming you understand that the specialization argument doesn’t apply to swimming. It is real simple with swimming. There is no other sport out there that compliments swimming in any away. The closest sport is running, but running doesn’t help upper body strength at all so that is out.

    I just find the best way deal with people is not to talk swimming with non-swimmers. They will never understand

  3. Amen swim sister. Wish we had learned this lesson earlier. To have family, neighbors, and we’ll meaning friends question your child’s practice schedule can be frustrating, especially when they have no experience with this sport. We learned the hard way to keep quiet and fly under the radar. Thanks for a great post and heads up on one less guilt inducing article I need to read.

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