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Let Kids Consider a Change in Sports

February 23, 2012
By John Buzby

It's that time of year when pitchers and catchers report to their warm-weather destinations while we here at home continue to only dream of sunshine, green grass and cool spring breezes.

It's also about now when a child might announce, "I'm not playing this year." It doesn't matter the sport or the amount of years he has been playing, in most cases it still comes as a shock and disappointment to us parents. Especially if we've already paid to sign him up.

This happened to me one year when my son, after playing baseball for seven consecutive seasons, decided he wanted to try lacrosse.

The first thing I did was try to figure out why. And to make a long story short it was because his best baseball friends and their dads, who were his coaches, were still going to play in the division he had outgrown due to age.

The second reason was because he had recently attended a college lacrosse game and was excited about the speed of the game and the skills required, which he possessed. He said compared to baseball, lacrosse seemed much less boring with little or no time to just stand around in the field or dugout.

And so I did some research and found a great beginner's league that not only was low key compared to others but also loaned out all the mandatory equipment. Any parent would have been thrilled about that, but having just bought a baseball glove and bat the season before, I was happier than most.

That season ended up being his only one playing lacrosse. But by doing so he was able to make new friends, learn to play for new coaches (without dad on the coaching staff), and certainly picked up new athletic skills and strategies that came in handy when he played high school basketball.

The very next spring he went back to playing baseball - fortunately that new glove still fit - as his friends returned to his age group. But to this day he talks about how much fun it was playing lacrosse for that one season.

And selfishly for me, I learned a new sport while sitting in my lawn chair doing crossword puzzles.

So that makes two of us who are glad that he tried a new sport for that one season.

Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. Email your comments to and follow him on Twitter @jonbuzby.



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