My College:
Family Life

I Love Watching My Son Compete

Christine Carter

I love watching my son compete in any sport.

From the moment he could run and climb and catch and throw balls, I knew I’d be raising an athlete. He tried many sports and grew to love them all.

And through all the different sports he’s played, and the years he spent training and developing his athletic abilities, I’ve grown to love sports, too.

I wasn’t into sports growing up. I was immersed in band and theater and dance, delving into the creative arts and steering clear of fields, stadiums, gymnasiums and workout rooms. It just wasn’t my thing.

But as all parents do, we learn to love what our kids love. We’ll do just about anything to support them, cheer them on, and help them pursue their passions.

Parents of athletes spend much of their time schlepping their kids to practices, competitions, tournaments and games. I’ve spent years sitting on the sidelines or hunkered down in the crowded gym bleachers. I’ve roasted in the sun by the pool or out near left field for hours on end, all because there’s nothing better than being there for my kid.

And of course, we want them to do well. We want them to earn those victories and at times, those are the highlights we celebrate most. But really, I just want my kid to have fun and embrace these years doing what he loves to do. Sure, I want him to develop strong athletic skills because that matters to him. But more importantly, I want him to develop strong character traits, like moral integrity, self-control, discipline, respect and responsibility, because those traits will last a lifetime.

When our kids are committed to something they love, they will experience setbacks and challenges, tough decisions, and conflicts. They will encounter people they don’t like, and they will make mistakes and sometimes fail. This is how they learn to cope with hard things and handle difficult people. And through these life lessons, they're discovering who they are and who they want to be.

When our kids work hard and reap the rewards, when they learn to communicate effectively with others and stay committed to something they love, they are building confidence, courage and character.

And that’s the real victory.

Originally shared on CollegiateParent's Facebook page by Christine Carter. Find more conversation and community in our College Parent Insiders Facebook group. Photo courtesy of the author.
Christine Carter enjoys writing about motherhood and parenting, health and wellness, marriage, friendship, and faith. You can find her work on her blog,, and several online publications. She is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness" and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World” (both sold on Amazon).

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