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May 10, 2019
Are You Using the Game...
or Is the Game Using You?
Raising and developing young people through sports comes at a high cost these days. As a sports parent, you’ve probably devoted a lot of your time, your money, and your energy to this experience. In the midst of that whirlwind, you might even find yourself asking, “is it really all worth it?” The truth is, the answer to that question probably lies not so much in what you’re putting in to your kid’s athletic experience, but in what you’re getting out of it. It’s worth stopping to consider an even more important question today, one that might clarify whether or not the whole experience is worth the cost. Here's the question: Are you using the game… or is the game using you?

If you’re using the game, that means what you’re getting out of the experience is worth more than what you’re putting in. Sure, the cost is great, but I hope you can see clearly today that what the game can give to those who use it the right way is even greater. The truth is, the game is a great training ground – maybe the best training ground, in fact – for developing what your child needs to become a champion for life. There are an endless number of winning lessons you can teach, winning qualities you can develop, and winning skills you can build through sports. If you’re intentional, you can use it to cultivate their passion, their effort, and their toughness. You can develop their courage, their selflessness, and their attitude – all abilities that will make them winners, on the playing field and beyond.

Yes, the cost is high, but when you consider the life-changing opportunity you have through this experience, you might find that all the early mornings and late nights, the long drives and the busy schedules are worth it. If you’re using the game, you recognize the important purpose the experience provides - the reason you're here. For the champion sports parent, your purpose lies in the daily opportunity you have to teach, encourage, train, develop, and equip your child. For the champion young person, it’s the daily opportunity they have to try, to struggle, to learn, and to improve in their most important areas. There's a high price to pay, but - if you do it right - it's worth it.

If you haven't tapped into that important purpose, then you probably don’t feel like you’re using the game. In fact, it might be easy to feel like the game is using you. If you’re giving all your time, all your money, and all your energy to this experience without taking advantage of all it has to offer, then let's be honest...you are the sucker. You’re getting robbed blind. You’re being used. This experience is literally hijacking some of your most valuable resources – your time and your money and your energy, yes, but maybe most of all…your joy! If you aren't using this experience for all it's worth, it can easily feel more like an obligation than it does an opportunity. No wonder you’re tired, or stressed, or burdened by the thought of another sports weekend. For you, it’s just another empty investment.
If you’re giving all your time, all your money, and all
your energy to this experience without taking advantage of all it has to offer, then let's be honest...you are the sucker. You’re getting robbed blind. You’re being used.
I want to challenge and encourage you today to be the sports parent who’s intentional about using the game to its full extent. Think about what it is your child’s really going to need if they’re going to find real, authentic success in this world, in sports and in life. Whatever you determine that is – like their passion, their effort, or their toughness. Or maybe their courage, their selflessness, or their attitude, for instance – chances are there are opportunities to teach, train, and develop them in those important areas today, if you’re committed to finding them.

Today more than ever, in this era of travel sports, elite equipment, mandatory training and over-scheduling, your child’s experience as an athlete comes at a great cost. That’s the bad news, especially if that’s where you allow the transaction to end. There is good news, though, for the champion sports parent. The good news is that despite the cost, the game is a great training ground - maybe the best training ground, in fact - for developing what your child needs to be a champion. It can be so valuable... if you use it correctly. When you tap into the bigger purpose the experience can provide, you'll find that what the game gives back is priceless.


-Travis
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