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From Dawson's Desk: What We Need to Control in Youth Sports

My family is a blended one, and I usually see my biological children every three to four days.  

It's been 10 days and counting because of COVID.   

Someone in our household had a close contact and tested positive with an at-home test. Out of caution, I headed to a testing site last Friday.  

It took 76 hours for me to get my results back, which meant I wasn't able to have my kids stay with me.  

I missed being goofy with my daughter, and I missed hearing my son's Dungeons & Dragons updates, even though I don't really understand it.   

I missed our meals together.  

But on Sunday, one of the kids was a bit frustrated that COVID had disrupted our routine and needed some perspective. This is what I offered: Be positive and control what you can control.  

That's something I think we all need, in a sense, in youth sports in 2022. There will always be more questions than answers. But we can control our attitude, our emotion and, of course, our actions.  

Will each of us feed the positive dog or the negative dog in us?   

The one that we feed the most is going to win and defeat the other. So positivity needs to reign, especially given what is happening in society right now. As parents and leaders, we need to model positive ways to conduct ourselves.   

So instead of criticizing a ref, what if we thank them for their effort after the game instead? Because, as an official myself, I have often heard a parent screaming about something, when he or she clearly doesn't understand the rules.   

Instead of complaining to a teacher or coach about something, what we just credit them for something positive that they have done?  

After COVID locked everything down in March 2020, including practices and games, I noticed that parents were very thankful and respectful that their kids could return to sports in early July 2020. But that window was fleeting.  

Currently, schools are going back and forth between in person and remote learning, and lots of games — even at the college and pro ranks — are being impacted.   

But can we stay positive and control what each of us can control?  

In youth basketball in Minnesota, there are not a lot of days left in the 2021-2022 winter-community based season. Let's have a spirit of appreciation for each of the practices and games and tournaments, and not one of fear, and anxiety and anger about cancellations, quarantines, a call that didnt go your way or a game that may be running behind schedule.   

Our kids are not only depending on us, but they're also watching us.  

 

Dawson Blanck, Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Executive Director
Dawson Blanck, Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Executive Director
Youth Sports Done Right