Sport - What It Can Teach Our Children

In all my own years playing competitive tennis and the years I have watched my own children playing sport I have NEVER witnessed what I saw this weekend and I hope I don’t have to witness it ever again!

On Sunday mornings those clubs, teams and players who have registered to play the winter pennants season turn up to start playing tennis at 9.00 am. Fixtures are provided with plenty of notice so as parents we are well aware where and against whom our team is playing. After all the matches have been played the home team provide morning/afternoon tea for both teams.

As team manager of my daughters’ tennis team, I ensure that all team members turn up by 8.30 am so that as a team they can warm up, meet their opponents and be ready to start play by 9.00 am. Should a team member get sick overnight (which as parents we all know how quickly a child can go downhill) I ask parents to advise me by no later than 7.00 am on the Sunday morning if their child cannot play. This then gives me some time to find a replacement for our team.

This Sunday was no different for our team but for one other poor team I felt sad and angry for them. They arrived at their club with plenty of time to warm up, meet their opponents and their parents had spent time and money arranging the morning/afternoon tea for the 2 teams. The only problem was that the other team didn’t bother to turn up! That’s right, they weren’t just missing 1 or 2 players, all 4 players failed to turn up, to make matters even worse when 9.00 am arrived they hadn’t even received a phone call from the other club or team manager. No one knew what was happening, were they lost, did they have an accident, was there some miscommunication with the fixtures etc.

It wasn’t until close to half an hour after they were scheduled to start play that contact was finally made. They just were not going to turn up.

As adults we have a responsibility to guide and set a good example to our children. These examples we set our children now will shape their values, morals and beliefs for their future. How many employers would think it is acceptable to phone in sick 30 minutes after your shift was due to start?

Sport teaches our children so many good life skills; commitment, respect for the game, themselves and their opponents, punctuality, competitiveness and resilience. Please keep this in mind when you sign up for a team or commit to a sport.

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