In fifth grade, I played soccer. I liked the game, but not the coach. All he did was make us run—all the time. And if we weren’t running, we were doing sit-ups.
Isn’t there supposed to be a ball or something?
It’d be one thing if this had been a high school team or if people were paying to watch us play, but we were in the FIFTH GRADE!
Pop quiz: What’s the easiest way to build resentment within the team you’re coaching?
Answer: Favor your son over every other kid on the team!
Needless to say, when we won the un-coveted “Sportsmanship Award” by season’s end, I gave a disapproving snort.
The next year, I started Tae Kwon Do. And I couldn’t have been happier. Instead of running, we actually got to kick things. Physical fitness was a part of everything we did, but the truly undesirable stuff, like sit-ups and push-ups, were used as punishment. That meant more time doing the thing I actually signed up for and less time doing the stuff that I hadn’t. And, if the instructor did have a son in the class, you were free to kick the crap out of him—no favorites.
The difference? I never played soccer as a kid or teenager again. But I earned my black belt during high school.