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Be a sports role model for your kids

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Team sports for grownups

I was never much for team sports growing up, but I could see their benefit to the kids around me and had a fine time watching them. I wasn't much for individual athletics either, for that matter. As a parent, though, I have become more physically active and I encourage the same in the kids, both on their own and as part of groups. As part of that process, I've noticed that as kids get older, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to engage in team competition when one isn't quite varsity level.

Woman in Hockey GearRecently a friend told me about the all female adult hockey league in our area, and even though I don't play hockey, I thought that sounded like an awesome idea on several levels. At a time when many of us are supporting our kids in team sports, helping them to learn about teamwork and sportsmanship, what better way to teach than by example? Just because you are a mom doesn't mean you are only allowed to engage in solo athletic pursuits.

Passion

Just because you are a middle-aged suburban mom doesn't mean you have to love playing soccer any less. Yes, you probably get in a fair amount of watching your kids play or maybe even coaching, but it's not the same. Wouldn't it be great for your kids to see you making time to do something that you love and have a lot of fun doing?

Teamwork and camaraderie

Team sports, of course, are an obvious example of working together toward a common goal. We talk a good game about teamwork and working together, but if our kids see us really doing that in the same context that they experience, it has a much higher impact. And it's not just teamwork on the field: there needs to be teamwork at home for a mom to make a commitment to a sports team.

Sportsmanship

A big topic among kids sports leagues is sportsmanship. The kids get talks about it and the parents must agree to codes of conduct for their kids to participate in the first place. Again, watching mom participate is a great way to model good sportsmanship - graceful winning as well as graceful losing, fair play, the works.

Competition

Again, just because we are moms and supposedly grown-up, it doesn't mean we have lost our competitive edge. Team sports are a great way to channel those competitive instincts; and far better then applying them among neighborhood politics and dynamics. Seeing mom be competitive in an appropriate manner may be the best way to teach kids about when to turn it up and when to tone it down.

This is all to say that there are great reasons to seek out that local league of moms who love hockey or soccer or basketball or other sport, and getting out and getting some exercise is the least of it. Team sports aren't just for kids or watching on the TV. They are for moms, too. Go out at find that league - and if you can't find one, create one!

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