Hubby Hawks was a wrestler. He is from a family of wrestlers -- five of the seven boys in his family wrestled in high school. And they were all good. And now two of them, Hubby included, are wrestling officials in their "spare" time between December and February. It's his opportunity to get back on the mat, be in the midst of weekend tourney excitement, the shouting, the old wood gym smell, the Frito pie lunches, the bleachers of middle aged parents weilding video cameras, the sweat, blood and sometimes tears.
Even though wrestling is apparently part of his DNA, he has always said that he does not care if his boys want to follow in his wrestling shoes. He wants them to find their own passions. In the meantime, I'm having a blast sampling the options with them. Sure, in our backyard you'll find the t-ball set and the basketball hoop and the baseballs and bikes, yadda yadda.
But what I find more exciting are the sports you can't buy at Target. Last year, we completed our first round of swimming lessons and discovered we have two water babies. Then last week, Graham took his first horseback riding lesson. My little two-year-old trotted around an arena on a full-sized stallion like a real equestrian. I shared the saddle with him, sitting behind him and beaming with pride that my little toddler was telling this massive animal to "go faster!"
In the meantime, attempting to not assign Reid a label already at just 18 months, he so far actually appears to be...wait for it...a wrestler. It's nearly shocking to see him actually almost doing it right, taking down Graham in the family room. As in, actual technique. (Yes, you may be surprised to know there is actual technique for barbaric acts. There is a "right" way to go about annihilating your opponent.) This 18-month-old may not need any of dad's covert coaxing into wrestling after all. Watching him take down his big brother, I found myself glimpsing the future, smelling the sweat and Frito pies...
But I was brought back to earth when I came across this article about what parents will pay on their kids' sports. "Your kid won't be as good if you don't pay for all the extras," one dad says within. Kids' sports is no longer about fun, exercise and character building; it's about transactions -- an industry with a new array of products. Parents apparently have no choice but to engage with it all if they are to give their kids a chance at making a school team. There are 40 times more kids participating in baseball traveling teams today than there were just 10 years ago. What will this industry look like 10 years from now? Are sports still about kids having fun, or is this a hotbed for sports marketers?