Sport parenting: is it fun and games, or a slow and painful death…?

Did you know that many summer sports have an off-season? And that many city recreation programs have registration times that are due prior to official schedules being released by private sports organizations?

The mental aspect of sport parenting can quickly take a toll…but if you miss a registration, come summer things will feel disappointing. So, I tether myself to calendars and scheduling apps and try to stay on top of it. It goes something like this:

By early December I anxiously await the release of the kids’ schedules for the post-Christmas season. Hockey came out fairly quickly, but ringette didn’t.

When the swim registration came up in early December for a course beginning in January, I was working with an incomplete calendar.

She wants to begin certifying for lifeguard.

The lifeguard course begins in January.

Sundays looked nice and empty in January and beyond, so I booked her into lifeguard training mid-mornings.

I felt relief that she got a spot since these courses fill up very quickly usually.

We also knew there was a summer sport team she wanted to join which would begin an off-season training at a local gym sometime in January.

We did not know at the time that the baseball stuff would also get booked on Sunday nights.

Ringette schedules for post-Christmas time came out this weekend, well after the swim registration was due. The baseball stuff came out the week before this past weekend. And now, Β that girl has three activities every Sunday beginning in January.



The other kid also begins off-season baseball at a competitive level, with every Monday and Tuesday evening booked on that. Along with a fast approaching hockey playoff season for which we are well within the running. (Top 6 go to playoffs out of 13 teams, we typically hover around 2nd to 4th place.)

Plus, he also has school hockey early Tuesday mornings and games on Thursdays around lunch time. Which, coincidentally, conflicts with my dog walking at that time.

I’m not giving up my dog walking. Let someone else schlep the kid from the school to the rink and back in the middle of the day.Β  I volunteered last year; this year I can’t help out.



I have a plan to visit Europe in early July but I’m not sure if it’s going to happen now. Partly, the funds aren’t there, and partly, neither is the time. And Switzerland isn’t the kind of place you visit for a few days…I’d like to connect with family for about two weeks, which doesn’t seem very doable right now.

I just don’t know.

Maybe I’ll google Groupon and see if we can get away for a few days someplace on this continent…or even further south, in the Caribbean. Because as things stand right now, January will be twice as busy as the last few months have been, and by March break, I’ll probably be dead and buried.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what it’s like to be a youth sports parent.


22 thoughts on “Sport parenting: is it fun and games, or a slow and painful death…?

  1. Given that the number of children with obesity-related illnesses has grown alarmingly, and everything is generated by lack of movement, it has become absolutely necessary for responsible parents to guide the youngsters to practice sports in an organized setting after a strict program. Motivations are multiple and, most of the times, cumulative. In some cases, it is desirable to guide children towards performance but, more often than not, only to move towards health and for the major benefits in terms of character education.
    The advantages of small sports are not free. Parents have to put their hands in their pockets, the expenses being differentiated according to the chosen sport and the club where they are practiced, but the gains are unmeasured. Being a sport psychologist, I hear you, understand and emphasize with you. You more amazing and strong could understend now, you will know later ! No doubt! Brave Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow! This made me confused and tired πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰. I’m just starting to figure out my first registration for preschool in September…..and so far that’s been taxing enough! So I’m a way off from this but I hear it from so many people….and it doesn’t sound fun. At all. 🀣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well there are certainly parts that are less fun. But there are no regrets, to be clear. If we didn’t do summer sports we’d be registering for camps, but they prefer sports and so we do what needs to be done. πŸ˜‰

      Once you reap in the benefits though…the kids develop skills, friendships and a sense of community that makes it all worth while in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe you can call and reschedule Sunday’s lifeguard training?

    We were doing TKD for one and karate for another. We had a birthday party and Christmas concert and work dinner all after his final black belt promotion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought about rescheduling… it’s all full. We decided since some Sundays are ringette practices and not games, we’ll consider those optional. 😊 That would drop her to 2. Oh, and bonus? Everything is very local (max 10 min drive). This part is not usually how it goes but this time, we lucked out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember all too well and I had 3 kids each in one or two sports. It’s a blur now, but some of it was fun. I loved watching synchronized skating, cross country, hockey, and soccer.
    Swimming, baseball, basketball, softball, not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t used to like baseball but I didn’t understand it. Now, I love it! But, when the kids were younger and still learning those innings would drag on and on…now that they’re in developmental or competitive teams, it’s a lot more exciting to be a spectator.

      Hockey and ringette is always a blast! But it does sometimes take its toll by the sheer volume of it all…whether it’s in the volunteering, driving, or spectating part. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love baseball but watching children play in cold weather and the games drag on FOREVER! My kids were on competitive teams in all of those sports. It was exhausting, for me and maybe them too. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  5. About a year ago, Thursday nights were our nemesis – with two children going in two different directions at once, to two different activities, back to back. It was insane. I would collect our youngest from Dance, do a quick change in the corridor between dance clothes and football kit, and run across town – arriving ten minutes late for football training. While this was happening my other half would drive middle girl to rugby training – we would all arrive home at about half-past nine, after starting the madness several hours before.

    Liked by 1 person

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