On Raising a Talented Athleteby Martha Scully • May 25, 2012
This week, our family received some exciting news that has put a bit of a shift in our normal daily life. Our oldest daughter, Sophie, has been selected to play on the BC provincial soccer team! This is a true dream come true for her, as only about 20 girls are selected from the whole province.
It's taken me a while to understand her love of soccer. Neither my husband nor I were soccer players; likely anyone that knew me as a child would fall over with laughter if they knew I had a talented athlete as a daughter!
Through the process of raising an athlete, we have learned some lessons:
- We've never pushed our daughters into sports; however if they start something, they have made a commitment and have to finish. The love of soccer was very clear with Sophie at age 5 when she was on a boy/girl team, weaving in and out of players with fire in her eyes, scoring a few goals each game.
- Having a young athlete is a family commitment . We live on Vancouver Island, which makes the commitment that much greater, as she plays for teams on the mainland, which is a 2 hour ferry ride away. For us, it's been about giving Sophie every opportunity to succeed at something she loves.
- Soccer is important, but other things come first! We have high standards for her academics; her homework has to get done and grades cannot suffer due to her commitment to soccer. This means she has less downtime for TV and computer, but that's the choice she's made.
- It's important to have an active and normal social life. She has friends inside and outside of her soccer world, and she still attends sleepovers even if she has a game the next day.
- Her sister's interests are just as important as hers. Her younger sister loves dance, soccer, and track and field, so we go to all her events as a family to support her, just as we go to soccer games to support Sophie.
I hope Sophie remembers this time in her life as wonderful and special, just like we will.