Youth sports and other recreational activities have come to a complete halt during the pandemic. Practices, team meetings, assignments, and any type of organized activity have all had to go virtual over the past few months. Many kids are experiencing this scary time without the sports they love - which normally act as an outlet for stress-relief, social time with friends, and a way to stay active.
However, youth athletes are not the only ones who are missing youth sports. Coaches have missed the frequent interaction they get with their teams and have struggled to find successful ways to keep their athletes motivated and engaged. Parents miss watching their kids play and cheering them on. Even the small things - like post-game snacks, car rides, team outings - are now things that are longed for.
The hope is that everyone in the youth sports community has spent this time reflecting on what makes sports so great and how much we all miss the sports we love. And, that when youth sports do come back, we will appreciate everything a little more and focus not so much on the wins and losses, but how special it is that we get to play, watch, and coach the game.
Below are quotes from parents, coaches, and teams on what they miss most about youth sports:
"The long drives, the wins and losses, watching the joy on your kids face when they make the play, enjoying their teammates, the sounds of the game, sunshine and camp chairs, snacks and drinks, team meals in hotels, fellow parents, organizing a full calendar, the cold weather, the hot weather, conversations in the car, wearing team gear, getting that perfect action shot or downtime candid photo"
- Andrea M., Parent
"A season allows us to provide an environment that so many look forward to. It is more than just what happens on the field or in a cheer competition, it is our volunteers, coaches, and participants working together, caring for each other, and learning from each other. The impact is tremendous from all ends, from the teaching the youth, providing them a safe place to learn, friendships, teamwork, down to the financial loss to all.”
- Board member, Brockton, M
“The closure of youth sports has affected all of us tremendously... kids, coaches, parents all miss the games, practices, competition, the friendships, learning, and the sense of family.”
- Coach, Posen, Illinois
“I could go on and on about youth sports and especially GIRLS youth sports and how important it is. Competition and events are vital to our organization and to the development of our young women.”
- Coach, Scottsdale, AZ
"Kids are missing out on being active, and the social and emotional growth.”
- A youth sports league president, Austin TX
"There is so much I miss as a parent like watching my kid make the play or get the assist. Watching them work on skills their coach has asked of them. Watching the team work together and have FUN! I know my kids are missing much more and cannot express it. Unless you are a parent of a kid in competitive sports I am not sure you can understand just what they are missing. It’s much more than just the sport. It’s what they get from their coaches/mentors. And their teammates.”
- Grace H., Parent
We want to hear what YOU miss most about youth sports. Post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #Unite2Play and share a memory, photo, or simply a sentence with what you miss most.
Sports play a vital role in the development of our youth and it’s important that it makes a comeback, even though it may look a little different. Now, you can take action to help ensure youth sports return safely when the time comes. The PLAY Sports Coalition is uniting youth sports organizations and its families and asking for support from Congress to ensure it survives and thrives this pandemic. Visit https://playsportscoalition.org/contact-your-representative/ to learn how you can help.