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Teens and Sports: The Thrill of Victory (And The Agony Of Their Feet)

20 Things We Know For Sure About Teens And Sports

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat (and their feet!). Sports can be wonderful and awful, sometimes at the same time, especially when you are a parent watching your teen’s spot. The trophies, the injuries, rain and mud, the other parents!

We the editorial staffers at Your Teen think about teenagers all day, every day. So we asked ourselves this question:  What do we know for sure about teens and sports? We may never fully understand all the complexities of rugby or the Offside Rule, but these are 20 things we know for certain about teens and sports.

Everything We Know About Teen Sports

 1. You will meet some horrible parents and some great ones, too.

The parents who swear at refs, boo kids who drop a pass, yell “Take her out!” at your child. They threaten to ruin the fun of sports sometimes. But you will meet that other great parent under an umbrella or flipping burgers at the fundraiser and make wonderful new friends, too.

2. Team building.

Your teen will be inspired to try harder, to pull others and to be pulled, and do amazing things because they don’t want to let down their teammates or coaches. It’s great preparation for life, and employers like to hire athletes for this very reason.

3. Respect for coaches, good or bad.

Coaches can inspire, demand, provoke. And they don’t care if you are tired or hot or hungry. They help make our kids into men and women.

4. Character building.

Practicing in the snow, running extra laps for bad attitudes, shaking hands with an opponent after losing? That’s character in the making.

5. Sportsmanship.

Sometimes you learn what it’s all about from the worst sport out there on the field or the court. Or in the stands (that’s us, parents).

6. Competition.

Your teen will learn about what it takes to be better than another athlete, and about being their personal best. And not all the competition happens out on the field. Competitive kids frequently have very competitive parents.

7. Learning to lose.

It hurts. It’s one of the last situations where it is acceptable for a teen to cry in public. When it’s your kid that missed the basket or had a bad game, you will feel terrible, too. But losing is a valuable experience.

8. Sitting on the bench.

Sometimes this is harder for the parent than the athlete.

9. Heartbreak.

Disappointments and losses are hard for kids. And when your kid doesn’t get playing time, or gets injured, or blows a lead in a game, your heart just aches for them.

10. Camaraderie.

The friendships, the closeness, the support and encouragement from teammates are some of the best, most lasting memories your kids will have of their youth.

11. Uniforms.

Our kids look so cute in their team uniforms, don’t they?

12. You never know who you are sitting next to.

If you yell “Hurry up! What are you doing? Pick up those feet! Take her out!” don’t be surprised if the person next to you says “That’s MY daughter.”

13. The stench.

Wow, do they smell. The ride home from practice, the cleats, the hockey pads – no matter the sport, teens are just so stinky. And wait until you smell the whole team together. Talking to other parents about cleaning tips is your new hobby.

14. Everyone has advice.

Whether it’s yelling at your daughter who she should pass to, or how your son could improve his stance, everyone is an expert at sports.

15. Someone will always be better or worse than you.

You can only be your best.

16. There will be injuries.

It’s hard to watch your kids take a hard hit, or fall and break bones, or need surgery that ends a season or a career. That’s part of the game, too.

17. No one misses a shot, pass, or goal on purpose.

And if they did, they already feel terrible without anyone saying anything about it.

18. There is nothing to say when your kid gets cut from the team.

Just love on them.

19. Sometimes it’s okay to quit.

That’s why Play It Again Sports and eBay exist.

20. You will miss your kid’s sports when they are over.

These days will be over in the blink of an eye, and one day you will drive past a field full of high school athletes and feel intensely nostalgic. Enjoy every minute now.