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What Kids Can Learn from Professional Athletes

olympic sportsSwimming = life, at least from where I’m standing these days.  Both of my children are swimming year-round on a competition swim team, 2 1/2 hours a day, 5 + 6 days a week. Swimming has become our LIFE.

It’s okay — I’m good with our nonstop schedule, if only because my kids are learning so many life lessons from working so hard all day, every day.

Now when we sit down as a family and watch the winter + summer games, as we do a bit obsessively every 2 years, my kids have a fairly realistic understanding of the hard work that goes into even making it to college-level athletics, never mind a professional stage. And the translation of that hard work to real life isn’t a difficult leap to make for either of my children. In fact, there have been multiple times within the last school year where one or the other of my kids have said to me something along the lines of : “I can do X, Y, Z hard thing, I’m a swimmer!”

They’re not wrong.

The amount of work they’re putting into excelling at swimming isn’t just a few hours a day in the pool. They’re forgoing hanging out with friends after school, cutting foods out of their diet they’d rather be eating (sugar, anyone?), going to bed early, and waking up earlier to get extra sleep and carve out time for extra projects. They nap in short spurts on the commute to swim, and do homework on the side of the pool before and after practice and in-between races at swim meets on weekends.

So when my kids sit down and watch professional athletes compete in any sport, be it during the winter or the summer, they understand the sacrifices that have to be made for a certain level of success. They understand that to excel in something, to even be a player in the arena, whether it be rocket science or hockey on the world stage, it takes nonstop work, serious sacrifices and commitment. Life lessons I condone? Absofreakinglutely.

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