How We Talk about Sports

When most families talk about taking up a new sport, I assume that the child expresses an interest or starts playing the game on their own, with friends, with a sibling. He or she begs to join a team.

That’s not exactly how it works at my house.

Recently, our ten year old told his Dad that he wanted to try lacrosse. Dad went and bought him a lacrosse stick, and they have been playing together in the front yard. My son now watches lacrosse on television with me (I tremendously enjoyed warming the bench throughout high school) and asks lots of questions about the rules. He is studying the game. He is learning the players, the trivia, everything. He learns to “talk” a sport before he learns to play it (e.g., he learned his numbers by memorizing favorite baseball player numbers).

And then, even before he asked to join a team or bring his lacrosse stick to a friend’s house or purchase any other accouterments of the sport, he checked on this:

“Dad, do professional lacrosse players make a lot of money?”

“Nope.”

“Are you kidding? Everyone watches lacrosse! They must be rich!”

“You don’t play lacrosse for money. You play for fun.”

“Do they at least make as much as you do?” (speaking to a doctor)

“Not even…”

“That’s ridiculous.” You could see my son’s mind at work, weighing his professional prospects with picking up a new sport just for fun.

Our six year old, always listening, added his two cents, “That’s why I play baseball.”

But fun still trumps money at ten. He brought his lacrosse stick for the first time today to play with a friend.