By Delaney Alden
When I was in elementary school, my parents made me do many sports. They would try to coax me into doing a certain sport, or sign me up for a sport without my knowledge. Of course this angered me every time because back then I was scared to try new things or scared I would be bad at the sport. They would even bribe me with a puppy or a gift if I went out and tried it! (Never got that puppy, by the way!) In my elementary and middle school careers I ended up participating in dance, youth cheerleading, volleyball, gymnastics, and basketball. Some of these I liked, but most I hated. Now I look back and laugh about the huge fits I had about trying a new sport or how mad I was at my parents for doing that to me. I’ve come to realize that if I never did all those sports when I was younger I might not have ever found a sport I truly liked, I might have never met the friends I have today. If I never went out for any of those sports, I might not have the mentality to work hard and do better. Who knows, maybe I’d even be a totally different person!
My favorite sport so far out of all of them has been cross country. Yep, running! I’ve been doing it since I was an eighth grader and now I’m a sophomore. I’ve made so many new friends and so many wonderful memories in cross country. And guess what, my parents forced me to do it! In fact I hated it the first time I did it. Running sucks, you can’t breathe, your body hurts, But I went out a second time my freshmen year because I made friends and I had good and funny memories from the first season. And, eventually I noticed that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was! Running isn’t really that bad if you learn how to pace yourself and learn how to have fun with it. Now when I have a bad day I go on a run sometimes; it almost relaxes me somehow! I also loved spending time with the people that are in cross country, and I love my coaches and peers. We have so much fun. I think the best part is that I’m not even really that fast when it comes to running. I’m not the best on the team either, but I never let that bother me because what I care about is all the fun I have doing it. I never would have experienced any of this if my parents never made me try it. I am currently doing Cross Country in the fall for GMLOS. I tried girls wrestling for the GMLOS Bulldogs this winter for the first time ever! (Which I never in a million years saw myself doing, but I enjoy it so much!) I also do GMLOS track and field in the spring!
I think it’s important for kids and teenagers to try sports, or really listen when their parents encourage them to do sports because good things could come out of it that you could never imagine. Sports can teach you how to be respectful, to be a good friend, to have manners and to have a good work ethic! And it doesn’t ever really matter if you’re good at any of them. It matters if you try your best and have fun. And if your child never truly finds a sport they love or enjoy, that’s ok too! Maybe they’d enjoy other academic activities that could teach them the exact same things! So listen to your parents; go and try new things! Get out of your comfort zone, you never know what could happen!
Delaney Alden is a student at Grand Meadow High School. She is one of 14 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 23rd year.