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Development Dads - Sportsmanlike Conducting - Prepubescent

Updated on March 8, 2015

Sportsmanlike Conducting

More Than Well Rounded

We constantly advised Taylor that we wanted her to be a Renaissance Woman - yes, more than well-rounded. We wanted her to be scholarly, artistic, humanistic, and athletic; so, to pursue, we had to expose, teach, involve, and evolve.

Of all these pursuits, the athletic was, ironically, the most difficult to address. Dealing with the absurdity of the prominence that competitive sports maintains world-wide was alone a daunting task for us as we only enjoyed but did not worship.

In one year, we introduced Taylor to soccer, softball, and gymnastics, but she did not show any enthusiasm. Then her public school started up an introductory volleyball session after school and she decided to give it a try. To our surprise, she loved it. We were very pleased as both Joy and I had played in a co-rec city league for several years and could help her develop some skills. That spring Taylor joined a league for fifth graders and performed well enough that the coach told us she should try out for Junior Olympic (JO) team that summer. After a little research, we discovered that there were several JO organizations in the area; and, then with some extensive research, we realized that we were living in an area that was a hot bed for girls volleyball.

In the very first tryout, we soon discovered that Taylor's skill set was about two years behind most of the girls her age. There were three league groupings for girls in the JO organization A, B, and C. After talking with several parents, we then found that all of the girls who made the A and B leagues had attended Catholic schools and these schools started girls playing volleyball in the third grade; and, even at that young age, these schools had A, B, and C levels. After more discussions and research, we became aware that there were over ten schools in our area that were ranked in the top twenty high school teams in the entire state. One of the high schools were the current state champs. The competition was fierce, the girls were already cloistered tightly in groups, and the parents were as cut-throat, political, and protective of their cliques as one could ever imagine. We were definitely on the very outside looking in.

Taylor did make the C league, got to start in her games, and did improve her skills. During this season Taylor's coach told us that she did have potential to be a good player and eventually make the seventh grade public school team in a few years but she would need to take extensive private lessons year round to achieve this goal. Taylor did love the game and she decided that she wanted to take on the challenge. So, we took it on expenses, isolation, and all of the nastiness. We wanted her to experience being physically fit, team play, and the intensity of competitive play. Little did we know that she would have to also experience how mean humans can become when competitive sports is their life.

Later in an Adolescent episode I'll relate how this all worked out. Even though Joy and I found the experience to be thoroughly disgusting, Taylor faired a lot better.

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