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March Madness Stories: It’s Not Just About Basketball

Please, you can’t tell my son. Let’s just keep this between us because I know he will be disappointed in me if he finds out my secret.  I don’t want him to think I abandoned him.

You see last month during the Sweet 16 round of the March Madness College Basketball tournament I was rooting for the Florida Gulf Coast University team. The Cinderellas of this national tournament.  Now to most people this would not be big deal, many people became instant fans. But you see, my son is a student at Georgetown University, a student athlete to boot. Georgetown was ranked #2 in the tournament, #5 is the country and Florida Gulf Coast blew them away in the first round.

Of course I was sad and disappointed over Georgetown’s loss – I did have them going to the final four in my bracket and felt terrible for my son. But Florida Gulf Coast was a validation of what I have been preaching for years.

After winning their second round game, the coach of FGC explained it to the amazed and awed media: “We have fun, we work hard, but we have fun.”

That’s it – they have fun.

Keeping Sports Fun

It’s simple – kids as young as five years old get it – sports are supposed to be fun, they are games. And yes, as they get older and money becomes involved, sports become a business. But the bottom line is, the players should have fun. The game of sports should be fun.

I knew it – I’ve preached it for years – but no, no one listened.

So many adults are working hard at reducing the “fun” factor. Parents scream from the stands, “Run faster. Hit harder.” They moan and groan (loudly) when a player makes a mistake, a bad throw, a missed tackle or strikes out. I’ve always wanted to ask, “Do you think they wanted to miss the shot, the catch, the rebound?”

By the time they become teenagers, or even younger, kids are encouraged to pick one sport to specialize in. In recent years, what used to be a one-season sport became year-round. And parents and coaches are expecting kids to pick one sport only instead of one for each season.  Hasn’t anyone heard of burnout?

So “You Go” Florida Gulf Coast and every other team and coach who understands that kids (no matter how old) playing a sport “just wanna have fun!” And while you are having fun, bring home the gold along with some great memories.

And oh, yes, please remember, let’s keep this between us. Cuz sometimes a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!

Mindy Gallagher

Mindy Gallagher is Your Teen Magazine’s social media editor and a mom to three boys.