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There’s nothing normal about life right now. And for children who, for the most part, do better with structure, routine and predictability, the changes they face in school, in sports, and in their social lives because of COVID-19 have negatively affected many of them.
My husband is a high school teacher and coach and I know the challenges many children face. I’ve heard of kids dealing with serious depression. I’ve heard of kids who were anxious for school to start—since when are most kids so excited for the start of school??? I’ve heard of kids who were more than ready to get out of their homes, for whatever reason.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that in the midst of all the uncertainty, youth sports has given hope to many kids. In fact, youth sports has been a beacon of hope for years.
Olympian Karina LeBlanc, Canadian soccer player, talks about the impact she’s seen youth sports have on kids worldwide: As a UNICEF Canada ambassador, I have had the privilege of traveling to countries where sport is often the only tool children have to escape conflict, war or poverty — if even only for a few hours at a time.
What is it about youth sports that makes them so good at spreading hope?
- It’s a place for kids to dream big dreams.
- It offers friendships and camaraderie, no matter your color or ethnicity.
- For many, it’s a place to get away from the troubles of a conflict-ridden home.
- For kids who may feel stuck, it offers them a chance to hope for a better future.
- It’s a distraction from all the chaos going on in the world right now.
- It’s a place where they can feel accepted and believed in, no matter how skilled they
- It offers every child a chance to succeed and feel good about themselves.
- It allows kids to have fun and learn to love the game.
- If only for a couple of hours, it feel like life is finally normal.
- It gives young athletes a chance to connect with adults who encourage and speak positive truth into them.
There’s just something about the youth sports culture that transcends all social, political and ethnic barriers. It crosses educational levels, religious preferences and all language groups. It has the ability to unite kids in a way that few other endeavors can.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.