What Family Time?
 Contents: UU World Back Issue


Soccer Brings Families Together

By Emma Whitford

When I think about my busy schedule, I have to say that I completely disagree with Putting Family First. My schedule is most hectic during the spring and fall. The craziness though, is almost entirely due to the number of viola lessons I have every week. I have two 7:00 am rehearsals with the school orchestra, in-school lessons, chamber orchestra rehearsal after school, private lessons at the high school, and at least twenty minutes of viola practice five days a week. Put homework on top of that, and it adds up to a whole lot of time spent cooped up inside, working my brain to pieces. In fact, viola and homework take up far more time in my week than soccer. This is why I consider my weekly soccer practices a kind of outlet for my energy. I have many close friends on my team and one of the best coaches in the world. There are only two practices a week, and they are only an hour and a half each. There is usually one game per weekend, unless there is a problem with rescheduling makeup games.

In a generation that is made up of more couch potatoes than athletes, I think it is a huge step in the wrong direction to try to decrease the amount of sports in a kid’s life. It is healthy for the body and the soul to be involved in a team sport. I know this for a fact, because I am thirteen years old and I know what most middle school kids like to do in their free time. If soccer practices were shorter, kids would just have more time to spend watching TV and playing on the computer. I also know for a fact that many middle school-age kids like to avoid “family time” at all costs. If kids are not together at soccer practice in the evenings, they’ll still be at their friends’ houses playing computer games and gossiping about kids at school.

Putting Family First also says that dinner hour should be the first priority and a family dinner is a sacred thing. They apparently believe that having soccer practice in the evening interferes with dinner time. I would like to use my family as an example. My soccer team has two practices a week, from five-thirty to seven in the evening. This means that my mom has time to make dinner while I am at practice, or even when I get home around seven-fifteen. My dad works full-time and often doesn’t get home until around seven o’clock anyway. This proves that having soccer practice actually makes it easier for my family to eat together. On other nights my mom will make dinner around five or six and either just feed my sister and me or eat with us and leave leftovers for my dad. I don’t know about you, but this is not my idea of a family dinner.

Another great thing about soccer is that it brings families together. Sometimes I will have two games in one weekend, due to rescheduling. On mornings like this my family and I, or just one of my parents and I, will set off to the first game bright and early. The games are often far away, which gives my family some time together in the car to just talk. I for one really enjoy this morning routine and think that it goes along with Putting Family First’s idea of “family time.” Another great thing about the games is that the parents on my team have become very close, and my parents and sister always have a friend to talk to while they’re standing on the sidelines.

Putting Family First has the wrong idea about organized sports. Most kids play sports because it’s what they love to do and because sports are a break from school, homework, and other activities that they don’t like as much (for example, me and my viola). Kids are still able to enjoy family between sports and other activities, without going over the top. This is very important because, at my age especially, too much family time can lead to serious problems.

Emma Whitford is an eighth-grader taking part in the Our Whole Lives course at First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington, Massachusetts.

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
: 34-35

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