I wasn’t raised to be an athlete, but I married into a family that more than made up for it. When Daly Kay was only a week old, she and I watched her father win a 5k and I distinctly remember Tom Daly so happy to meet the newest Reback with the same name as him! Over the last 21 years, I have been to hundreds of races watching my husband and children compete while I have cheered like a maniac from the sidelines. And I have learned one thing for sure:
Athletic competition is an integral part of raising a child.
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I have children who are artists, dramatic arts and dance enthusiasts, brainiacs, techno-geeks and bookworms. All of them compete athletically. No matter what box the world tries to put them in, we have always continued to encourage athletic participation because it fuels drive, quells anxiety, and develops focus. Competition will push a kid harder, farther and faster than they ever realized they were capable of.
Take Blissy, for example. Between working three jobs to get her college paid for this Fall, she hasn’t had much time for training. But she dug out her tri gear and on Father’s Day she jumped into the Heartland Triathlon full force. Feeling strong, she noticed she was running side by side with a guy on and off for most of the race. In the final two miles they decide to duke it out to the finish. Without training and yet without hesitation, she beats him to the tape. Her smile says it all.
Long before this gentleman actually vocalized that he wanted to “race” her… She was actually bent on beating him. That attitude made her work harder the whole race. When he threw down the gauntlet “for real,” she dug in and decided to win. And that bit of push, that fire that only competition can bring, that edge to push past pain that otherwise would slow us down, is what sports teaches our children.
Let me encourage you, if your kids aren’t currently enrolled in a sport, then pick one and dive in. Because moments like the one pictured here with Bliss make every practice, every game, and every loss worth it.
This weekend’s race results:
Uncle John won the race!
Grampa won his age group (just beating Tom Daly!)
DK won the swim overall
Ryli won her age group
Bliss beat this guy to the tape?
Kemper came in second in her age group
Glory, Trin, Courson, Liberty, Judson, and Shepherd had a phenomenal race Saturday and all of them did an incredible job!
Thank you Heartland Triathlon and Cherie Starr, race director extraordinaire, for an incredible family event that always brings memories and smiles. Hands down the best Father’s Day tradition ever.