CTG is Choosing to Grow. The umbrella under which I live my life…and write my books.
For the Sport of It : Investigating the big picture of sports in order to better understand my own sports story. I want to effectively navigate the youth sports landscape for our kids, and I want to do what I can to make the sports experience better for everyone.
Our family is a sporting family. There are six athletes in our house: three kids, two coaches, and an energetic, eighteen-pound chiweenie. Of all the time I have spent involved in teams as a player, as a coach, as the wife of a coach and as a parent, I have not taken enough time to consciously study or learn about why I do the things I do…why I feel the way I feel…and whether it matters what other people do and feel while at a sporting event.
The time has come…I am Choosing to Grow: For the Sport of It.
How did I get to this point?
I played competitive sports for twenty years. I played soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball. I ran track, did gymnastics and swam on a swim team. If there was a football game at recess or a tag game at the park… you could find me there.
Basketball and soccer eventually drew me in. I became most attracted to the complexity and challenge of team sports, playing both sports up through college. Colorado College offered division I soccer and division III basketball. I played soccer all four years and basketball for a year. I lettered in and was the captain of both teams.
I began coaching while I was still in college, and just after graduation I was named the skills coordinator for Storm Soccer Club in Colorado. Eventually I was a head coach for both a U-15 and a U-17 premier girls’ team. After a hiatus with small children, I took over as the emergency hire for the University of Wisconsin-Stout women’s soccer team in Menomonie, Wisconsin. It was an emergency hire that lasted for five years. After my resignation, I took my energy to the sideline of my kids’ teams and I’ve had the role of both a head coach and an assistant coach for a number of youth teams. I coached in Minnesota for the Woodbury Soccer Club and the Stillwater recreational program. We eventually moved back to Menomonie where I have been an assistant and head coach as well as the Coaching Coordinator for the club. 2016 marks the beginning of my coaching career as the head high school men’s soccer coach at Menomonie High School.
Because of our kids’ involvement, I have held positions on the board of directors for three separate organizations.
My husband’s coaching home has been as an assistant on the ice at both UW-Stout and UW-River Falls. He recently resigned from his position as the head high school hockey coach at Menomonie High School. My role as the wife of a coach lasted for fifteen years and it has afforded me an entirely new perspective.
All three of our children have played both soccer and hockey. Shocking, right?!? Our oldest son played both in high school and is now taking his athletic talents to intramural soccer teams and pick-up basketball games. Our middle daughter has gravitated toward hockey as a goalie, and our youngest daughter loves soccer most.
I love the sporting lifestyle, and through the variety of experiences I’ve had, I have seen all different parts of what it is to be involved. There are plenty of reasons why I support and encourage our kids to play team sports. There are reasons why being part of a team can be difficult, but the value of what team competition can offer far outweighs the potential difficulties. I’m not sure there is as much positive celebration about youth team sports as there should be.
WHAT I HOPE TO UNCOVER WITH THIS CTG PROJECT:
What is the current feeling around youth team sports? Do people really feel the way they sound like they feel on the sidelines?
Do people generally feel positive about where youth team sports are headed?
If not…what are some ways to combat the negativity and empower parents to be the engine for something better?
What do parents of athletes need to know about the physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual components of youth team sports?
I have no intention of eliminating all of the negative aspects of the youth sports climate. If I set out with that goal, I would never achieve it. My goal instead is to gain a perspective I do not yet have, and to start a movement of change by educating people with the information they need to make the choices that matter.
If you are interested in joining the CTG movement, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.