FAMILY SUNDAY – I made a mistake in my story this week about a nine-year-old who was asked to play “travel” or “club”, and how he did not get off the bench all season. I’ve used the quotes because this is all murky water these days, not to mention an easy money grab. The mistake was that the twin is not nine years old. He is eight.
Today, we went out of our way to let kids this age compete, but we also let them be kids. For all the grade K-3 kids out there, and their parents who are looking for a fun way to end the season, we’ve found it. We run the Motion Olympics where we come up with a list of skill drills that are not just events, but drills they should practice at home if they want to improve. We also practiced running form, playing catch, and full-length-of-the- floor bear crawls, all to build up coordination and strength, and to enhance the fun factor.
We make sure that all kids have a chance to compete in a few of the events and eventually win, but we do it in a way that they know what it means to finish in first, second or third place. We then place the kids in teams and they pick a country they represent. After a round-robin tournament, we separate into a gold-silver medal game and a bronze medal game. I honestly felt it was a little sloppy at times. There was too much dribbling, so we set a dribble restriction. It helped. Then I told myself to loosen up. It’s the Olympics. Let them love it.
Is the event perfect? No. Do some kids walk off with more medals than others? Sure. Do they sometimes get upset? Yes, but it’s rare because of the system we’ve put in place to make all of them feel included, and part of something special. And there’s nothing more a kid wants.