You’d think being a network sports broadcaster for the past 20 years would have prepared me for navigating the world of youth sports. I’ve been on the sideline of Super bowls, covered 4 Olympics and have been blessed to be around some of the best athletes and coaches in the world. Yet when my own three kids started playing sports there were so many questions I couldn’t answer. No one told me not to pierce my daughter’s ears right before the soccer season started or that I’d feel panicked hearing my 10-year-old was the only one in her group of friends not playing on a competitive, year round team. There was a time I envisioned my oldest daughter playing volleyball at Stanford or UCLA after she made our local A-level club team. That was before a child psychologist pointed out I wasn’t listening to my kid and that her debilitating anxiety was seemingly the result of the fact that she loved horseback riding, NOT volleyball and had quietly agreed to play only because she knew it was important to her parents.
After all, this is the same child that was expected to play sports before she was even born. In his book ‘The Seasons of My Life, my husband’s, former college basketball coach, Lute Olson, wrote this on page 190 : “Kevin is 6’9 and Alex, is probably 6’2, so when their first child was born instead of sending them a present I sent them a letter of intent. I didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl, I just knew it was a future basketball star.” She is tall, but sorry coach O, she’s an equestrian.
My son is as passionate about sports as I am. He’s talented and tall and often plays up which has me constantly questioning if we should be pushing or pulling. He plays flag football, soccer, baseball, basketball. And has a photographic memory for final scores and football stats. He’s 7!
I clearly don’t have answers for soooo many questions, but because of my job, I know people who do and I’ve been bugging them for their feedback, advice and expertise. One of them is my partner in this venture, Asia Berkley Mape whom I first worked with at Fox Sports Network. She and I knew we had great gigs when we were assigned to fly in a private jet with then owners of the Sacramento Kings, the Maloof brothers, for a story on their new casino Rio. We’ve been friends ever since.
We are hoping this website will serve as a resource for parents like us who love sports and are seeking to find the right balance. Asia and I are kind of at opposite sides of the sports parenting spectrum, so you’ll get varied perspectives here! While we know there are many different road maps for navigating the world of youth sports, we are all trying to reach the same destination…one where there are happy, healthy, well rounded children.