Teen athletes and the spirit of Christmas

December 13, 2012|Lisa Prejean

After a long Saturday of sports practices, Christmas-related errands and homework assignments, you'd think my 13-year-old would be exhausted.

Hardly. After supper she was in the living room doing strength-training exercises.

I sat at the kitchen table, head resting in one hand, red pen poised in the other, grading yet another stack of papers. I didn't realize how tired I was until my son walked by and said, "Mom, I think playing two sports at one time is harder on you than it is on her."

Leave it up to him to capture the moment and capture it well.

We knew what we were in for this season, and I'm thankful for the opportunities that my daughter has to play for her school basketball team and a club volleyball team. Still, thankfulness and stamina are two different things.

I'm gaining a new-found appreciation for all the parents who run their kids hither and yon and support them through the muscle pain, the hunger, the late nights and early mornings.

If only the parents were as tough as the kids are. After a recent volleyball practice, my daughter's bruised and battered knees started bleeding. She took off her knee pads, washed her legs and changed for basketball practice.

No sweat.

I think I'd be taking a break.

After watching the many athletes we have encountered at various tournaments and competitions, I think the motivation for all this has to come from within. A young person has to be truly driven to compete at the levels we are only beginning to experience. Most of the parents I've met are silent participants, remaining on the sidelines, ready to offer more water, extra snacks, an encouraging word and moral support — to each other as well as any student participant.

There is a sense of community among the parents, a sharing of ideas, an outpouring of information.

Concepts that seemed foreign — whoever thought we'd be discussing college recruitment practices at this age? — suddenly become within reach when broken down step-by-step by people who have been there.

Wouldn't it be nice if people worked as well together in every organization? Just think how much we could accomplish.

It's almost as if the Christmas spirit is alive and well in athletics. May it continue all year, everywhere.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to

The Herald-Mail Articles