Throughout my life, I haven't played a crazy amount of sports; however, sports have filled my life, and no matter the sport, my parents have always been there for me as my number one fans.

The first sport I ever played was soccer. My dad was actually the assistant coach for a couple years, and I played that all the way through seventh grade. The next sport I started to play was football, and that was only for fourth grade. I started to play basketball the next year all the way up until ninth grade. The only sports that I played in high school were track and cross country of which my parents supported me the most by going to almost all of my meets no matter where they were.

Some people think that sometimes parents can ruin the sport that a child loves, but I’m here to show you five ways that the parents make the sport that much better.

1. They want you to succeed more than you do.

My parents wanted nothing more than me to succeed in every aspect of sports, this was also the case with my brother who played sports in high school and my sister who played in high school and college. My dad once bet me a Nintendo DS that I wouldn’t get in the top 20 of a cross country race, I got 16th that week.

2. Successes are just that much better.

Hitting that game winning shot or maybe anchoring the swimming relay to the state championship is always a great feeling, and celebrating it with your teammates is amazing — but being able to celebrate it with your parents is ten times better.

3. Sometimes they’ve been there.

My mother never played any sports, but my father ran cross country and also played basketball. Having my dad already played the sports helped me out so much in terms of knowing what to expect. It’s hard to know what to expect for a mile race when you’ve never really run in your life. My dad knew what it felt like to have a bad race, and he knew the right things to say to cheer me up.

4. The bonding experience

My dad and I have a lot in common but me running cross country and distance in track and field was yet another way that we could bond, and we did a lot of it. Having similar interests is always a good way to get closer with someone.

5. You’ll strive to be like them with your kids.

My dad always tells me how his parents never saw him run during his cross country and track and field days. This made me sad knowing he never had the support system that my siblings and I had. Whenever I have children, they won’t be forced to play sports, but if they do, I will be their biggest fan.