Jan 102009

Nathan’s first Upward basketball game of the season was this morning.

Watching him is different now.  Last year, he was on the tail end of goofy little boyness.  I think this year he is at the very beginning of the purposeful and concentrated movement that will explode in adolescence.  He’s beginning to develop something to prove.


During the game, I mentioned to Lea that I think this might be the last Upward year for him.  It’s a great program, and I appreciate the emphases on sportsmanship and team dynamics.  But this time next year he’ll be 8, and I think that’s old enough to begin experiencing the full respective emotions of winning and losing.

(He already has me keeping covert score.)

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 Posted by at 4:48 pm

  6 Responses to “The elder kid’s clicking over”

  1. The Upward programs are great, but I’ve always had some heartburn with the no winners or losers. Guess it’s the competitiveness that my father instilled in me. He was/is one of those Dad’s that didn’t let us win board games, card games, etc. very often, if ever.
    The worst for me is the t-ball games where they teach the kids to just throw the ball back to the pitcher/coach. I understand letting everyone bat every inning and all, but at least teach the kids the rules of the game and try getting the runners out! Eh…maybe I don’t understand kids. ha!

  2. Scott, while I generally agree with you on the winners/losers thing, T-ball rules do have a purpose. One would never get out of the 1st inning if not for the get it to the pitcher rule. Those kids, I worry that someone is going to get beaned in the face because they can’t catch yet! So, they need some time to develop that skill.

    As for me and mine, We had to skip t-ball, because as my then 5 year old budding pitcher said, “I ain’t playin’ no stinkin’ t-ball.” He wanted to hit pitched balls, because he could.

    Baseball gets sooooo much better when they hit the 10/11/12 year old age groups.

  3. Scott, I’m with you. (My dad never let me win either!)

    When we were first looking at it, Lea and I discussed it and I made peace with the compromise. But Nathan’s getting old enough to win and lose for real. After all, can you really fully teach sportsmanship without such?

    (I think Upward goes up to 13 years old, and I don’t understand that at all.)

  4. I think it’s okay that you have programs where it is NOT particularly competitive. You just have to think of it as something that replaces the neighborhood game where half a dozen kids got together and faked their way through a game of kick-ball (i.e. ghost runners, any ball landing in the garden is a foul, if you’re too much of a jerk the other kid takes his ball and goes home). It’s more about learning to get along with other kids. It’s also about trying to get kids to not be couch potatoes. It’s about introducing them to something new. That level of competition is just fine for some kids. There’s a place for that.

    Once your child has started to develop an obvious preference for something and wants to be competitive, though, then a dose of reality is definitely in order. Nathan loves basketball. Soccer… his motivation runs hot and cold. Baseball… I’ll be shocked if he plays again. That’s okay. He’s been exposed to them (and had great coaches for all, btw). He likes to PRACTICE basketball, though. He wants to be GOOD at basketball. If he really wants to be competitive then he needs to understand what that encompasses.

    Of course, before we switch programs, I’m going to have to plug into the mommy-grapevine and find out if the other local programs are really any better for this age level. I think we have a good coach. If I knew we’d get him next year, I’d be loathe to jump to an unknown if there’s no real value added by the program.

  5. I don’t think I “clicked over” until I was 24.

  6. You know they do keep score in the next level of Upwards. J.D.’s team go humbled by a kid who looked like an 8th grader and used a crossover dribble like Tim Hardaway a few weeks ago. That being said, East runs some teams at that age group also.

    If you want a humbling experience, try club soccer…

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