I write this on the last game of Kobe Bryant after 2 decades of amazing basketball! Though as family, we are for Boston Celtics, we salute Kobe Bryant and his contribution to the sport that has somehow partly molded our journey as a family with 3 young boys passionately into the sport. Sister Raya is a fan as well but she prefers the tennis court to play in.
Let me share with you amazing benefits sports has provided our family:
1. Over-all better health for all!
As a doctor-parent-athlete, this is high on my list. Moving and improving circulation, exposure to the outdoors, the release of stress reducing chemicals, the sleep benefits, the boost to ones immunity are amazing benefits while one is having fun! And these only concern “physical health”! We also need to consider the other aspects of health: mental, emotional, social, etc… When I am down and out or stressed, a good tennis game/training never fails to clear my head and yes, control my emotions.
If you need further information, just google: “Health benefits of sports!” Try this one.
2. Unforgettable experiences together as family
My tween son, when asked about his most favorite experience so far, wrote lengthily about our 2012 once in a lifetime experience of stepping into TD Garden to watch our Boston Celtics play the famous San Antonio Spurs. That was the time when the BC had the Big 3 at their peak: Kevin Garnet, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Of course, that is the highlight and indeed, truly one for the books. But the special, heartwarming bonding times are the ones when we’re all huddled together watching our team battle it out for NBA Championships, creating our own poster board (in an illustration board) for the play offs, or the efforts to secure a giant Boston Celtics tarp from a Adidas manager-friend (which has been mounted on one side of our sons’ room), or even the long trips to Araneta for a UAAP La Salle-Ateneo games.
For husband Gilbert, a highlight every weekend is seeing our sons grow and eventually outgrow him, in height and skill (coming soon, Papa!) as they battle it out on 2 on 2 in street basketball. From plastic balls, to junior size basketballs and now to size 10 basketball shoes, yes, they’re all growing fast and yes furious!
Raya and I get to play tennis and understand the sport together. Sometimes we play doubles against another mommy-daughter couple or vs a hitting trainer. It’s been almost 8 years since Raya picked up a racket, and that’s from baby rackets to junior rackets, from cute trainers to size 8 tennis shoes!
Apart from the actual time on court, there is also the unmatched high in watching your children play a sport they love best, seeing them win and yes, seeing them lose. ….seeing them do chest bumps and high fives and witnessing them shed tears and hug their coach and teammates!
There is just so much happiness in the act of “cheering” for a loved one: beats any cheering for a well loved, famous athlete for me any day. Once, it had to be another way around. Mama Donna, and her tennis team, Team Tenez, joined a ladies doubles league in Manila Polo Club. Raya and Gino were our team cheer leaders complete with same colored outfits and pompoms! (I think we won in best uniform because the the judges couldn’t resist our cute “mascots” hehe) . When an older sibling comes to support a younger brother for a championship game, isn’t that precious?
Because Mommy Donna is a player herself facing more losses that than wins, the children and I are able to have a whole lot of exchanges about what it means to be an athlete and to be part of a team!
3. The Added Benefits of Continuous Bonding outside of the court
I am glad that our children got used to having their parents watch their games. We (but I had to learn more than my husband) had to sort of learn the “right way” to watch their games. Of course, we couldn’t let our sons control us but yes we ( I actually!) had to adjust on some areas to sort of meet halfway and compromise. There were cheering styles, comments after a game, behavior as spectators that weren’t helpful or at some times downright bothersome for our players. We eventually found our groove!
With this shared experience, I see a whole lot of what our sons are faced with, how their team mates play, how their coach works and all the ins and outs of every game. That’s a whole lot to draw from and it’s a good way to know more about our children, to feel for them and yes, it becomes a good backdrop for continuous and open communication. Eventually, you move from talking about sports to a whole lot of other topics. And with boys, and eventually men, there is a whole new world in terms of communication, right?
4. The Priceless Lessons Learned in Sports
For the children:
- Physical and Mental Skills
- Value of Teamwork
- New and Deeper Friendships
- Mentoring/ Learning from another adult ( coach)
- Time Management
- Obedience/ Respect for Authority (Coach, Referee, League)
- Art of Winning and Art of Losing
- No pain, No gain ( No win!)
- Inexpressible Joy in Winning after Lots of Work
- Value of Practice
- The Importance of Priorities
- Faith and Sports!! (one of my favorites!) Click on that highlighted link to know more about this.
- How to Handle their Parents as Cheerleaders, “de facto” Coach
- And so many more!
For the parents:
- Leading by Example
- Application of Biblical Principles in Parenting
- Learning How to Chill (My kids would all agree 100 percent)
- Finding the Correct Balance in Raising Successful Athletes (Much more if they are siblings!)
- Lots of Time Management and Planning
- Supporting our Children’s Passions
- Friendships with Co-parents
- Lots of Love, Patience and Sacrifice
- And so many more !
Indeed with this exhaustive list, I have to say, parents, get into some physical activity yourself early on and “Start “em young!”
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 2:5 “”Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (NLT)