I grew up playing soccer and played into my adult life. For many years I’d have practice 6 days a week with little rest.
Now, in my sports massage office, I see plenty of athletes of all ages with chronic pain from whatever sport they played growing up and in college and beyond. Now there is the new generation of athlete, in middle school or high school, playing their sport 6 days a week without much rest.
They show up in my office in pain. Chronic Pain. At 12. Really?
What is the goal, parents, of sports? Is the goal to have chronic pain and ulcers from the emotional stress?
I understand, and often pursue & encourage, that paying for college with a sport, or playing professional whatever sport is the American Dream. But, realistically, how many of our children will do this?
Given the obesity problem in our country, exercise and sports are a great outlet and can be very healthy.
There has to be a happy medium. Maybe if we could encourage sports as a fun daily activity that ADDS to life….instead of BEING our life. An activity that we can do into our 80’s without surgeries and joint replacements in our 40’s.
Our kids watch us limp around, exercise in gyms and then drive to buy coffee. We don’t take care of our bodies in America, and I really hope to remind us to, including myself, to be more mindful of our healthy limits. If we could remember to hydrate…really hydrate, to stretch, add massage as a monthly or weekly part of a self health insurance program of preventative maintenance.
Our kids don’t need to have the same battle scars of their parents. My own 2 blown knees, broken neck and broken sternum from years of soccer show their ugly whining as I get up from a restaurant table or can’t run with my daughter more than a 9 minute mile and she is running circles around me, literally. Our kids can be smart, notice their physical limits, how to de-stress their own bodies with breathing, stretching, massage, ice/heat and rest. Lets teach them healthy habits, not the idea of getting used to pushing their bodies, emotionally and physically, past a healthy point of return.
Our kids can play hard and still stay healthy, with rest, hydration, massage, stretching, better nutrition and WARM DOWNS.
My goal for sports in my athletic children’s lives: to give them an emotional outlet, to create fun & team work, great friends, good sportsmanship, family fun and strength/speed.
What I hope NOT to do, even though I lived this, is NOT to put their sport above their health, above their schoolwork, above family time.