Last night there was a question posed to sports journalists and viewers: Would you let your kid play football? It got me to thinking about kids and sports. (More)

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I tried with my two sons, now 34 and almost 37, to encourage lifelong sports. I wanted physical activity to be part of their entire lives. My eldest was a sports fan from the get go. He played baseball and football but also skied, swam, and rowed. His crew team at the University of Minnesota won two national championships. He watched sports on TV and played basketball in the driveway. The younger one played football in 4th grade and came home and said he wanted to quit. I let him do so without comment. He played again in 8th grade and made an interception and a touchdown. His comment was more about the group hug he got for that play than about winning.

I had one very competitive son and one not so much. I coached soccer when the youngest son was in second grade. I asked him why he was standing in mid-field talking with a player from the opposing team and not following the ball. His answer, “Mom the ball always comes back through here and I made a new friend.” Okay then.

Both boys were excellent downhill skiers. The ski team was grades 7-12 and coed with high parental involvement. The team also had the highest GPA of any high school sports team. The bus rides to and from the slopes were tutoring sessions. This was all the lessons of teamwork that a parent hopes for their kids in sports. Plus, it is a lifelong sport.

I still think that sports provide some great life lessons in self discipline, practice and teamwork. I’d like to think that we could provide those lessons without brain damage. If I was the mom of young sons now, I really don’t think I’d let them play football.