Dear Readers of Athletic Support: It’s me, Eli, sending a question your way for a change. What have you learned from this column?
I ask because this will be my last time writing “Athletic Support.”
It’s bittersweet, that’s for sure. I’ve devoted three years of my life to this endeavor — three years spent answering your heartfelt and sometimes hilarious questions. My mom was the one who came up with the name for this column; she’s a sucker for a jock joke. More than that, though, my parents were never far from my mind as I answered each and every inquiry.
I can vividly remember how much athletics meant to my mom and dad; how many questions they had; how hard it was to navigate the world of youth sports.
These days, it seems things have gotten even tougher.
With the advent of travel leagues and year-round practices, youth sports can seem like a full-time job for the parents and the kids.
That seems to be the most popular type of question I’ve received over the life of this column: How much is too much?
It’s an easy mistake to make. I can already feel myself pushing my kids in different directions, imagining my daughter as a future novelist, while I see my son going on to be a major league pitcher.
The better way to think about our children and their activities is by letting them guide us. Follow their passions. My daughter might be a world-class swimmer, and my son might be first chair in the high school band.
If I try and pressure them into being what I want them to be, I’ll never know.
For me, that’s been the point of this whole column.
Let your kids be kids. Make sure they have fun. Don’t make youth sports into some sort of job. Don’t gauge your worth as a parent on your kids’ accomplishments.
Your questions have made me a better parent, that’s for sure. So I want to conclude by thanking you for taking the time to write in and for caring enough about your kids to go the extra mile.
If you want to keep up with me, I’ll be starting a new weekly column in August called “Where I’m Writing From,” which will center around my life as an up-andcoming novelist.
Thanks again for reading and following along. I hope to hear more from you in the future.
Best, Eli Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. His debut novel, “Don’t Know Tough,” is available wherever books are sold.