I grew up playing sports. It was always a huge part of who I was. Even now in my 40s, living in a much more out of shape version of my younger self, playing sports is still a part of my life! In 2020, sports were one of the many things that came to a screeching halt due to the global pandemic. It’s crazy how many different ways I’ve thought about what “no sports” has meant. It went from just me as an individual, to my own kids missing out, to kids that sports literally saves their lives and sets them on the right path. I thought so much about high school athletes up for scholarships, collegiate athletes missing even one season, much less to Olympians whom have had to skip their prime and will never get to peak performance again. It still breaks my heart for all of them. I thought about every professional athlete who didn’t get to play or even train in some cases, and how that must have impacted their lives and physical and mental state. I thought about the fans. Yes, all the crazy fans. And then I thought about sports as an entire industry. Of course, as part of an industry that was JUST getting their feet planted for the possibility of sports betting, no sports meant no (or very little) betting.
Among all of the groups I thought about, the one that hit me hardest was when I thought about the impact on my own kids. My husband and I have watched our kids do some pretty amazing things this year. Our second and fifth grade girls have been able to navigate the change the world threw at them this year with more patience and grace than most adults. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect, but I am definitely proud of how they handled the year. It has been hard as a parent to swallow what they’ve lost, while also gaining some really great new skills and life lessons they never would have had, had this year not happened the way it did. But, losing the opportunity to play sports took away the lessons you learn through play. Whether it’s taking direction from a coach, developing social skills of how to be part of a team, learning how to lead or be led, and the reality of the emotion you have with wins and, of course, defeats. Does any of this sound familiar to work? How about life? It sure does! One lesson in particular that I try to instill in my girls, that seems to resonate a lot with life as we knew it in 2020, is when they seem to be (for lack of a better term) “lazy.” I reinforce, “you can REST, but don’t QUIT.” It seems so simple, but I can safely say this motto was a mindset many of us were forced to adopt this past year.