So You Gave Your Toddler A Ball

So You Gave Your Toddler A Ball

And that's all you can do.
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I get it. I understand. You played soccer, basketball or baseball all through school. You knew before the conversation of actually having kids came up that your kids would play your sport of choice. You knew that they would excel beyond your wildest dreams and they would run with the sport to places you never got the chance to. I get it. But what if I told you it’s that not that easy.

My husband played soccer for twelve years and still signs up for the Murfreesboro Soccer League every now and then. Before we actually had kids, when having kids was just a thought bubble in future years, he actually said that our kids would play soccer. I would rather them play softball or be perfecting their pirouettes in a cute leotard, but it’s not up to me. Surprise, it’s not up to my husband either.

When you give a toddler a ball (or a leotard), many things can happen. You can push the child to play a sport they have no interest in. You can make such a big deal about winning or losing that they don’t see the fun. You can drill in their little innocent heads that they have to succeed in the game or they’ll practice until they’re perfect. All of these scenarios generate negative outcomes. No child wants to play with the pressure of not failing.

If you decide that you are going to give your toddler a ball, or leotard, be supportive. Show them the fun side first. Show them how being on a field in cleats or on a wooden floor with dance shoes can change their life. Show them how they can excel and go anywhere with it. Let them know that winning and losing isn’t the only objective in a game, but to be your best at all times. They need to know that mistakes can happen. Not making the goal isn’t the end of their life and not landing the sashay leap in perfect form doesn’t have to kill the passion.

Encourage them to play any and all sports. Let them play the field. Let them pick out the sport that makes their heart happy. Let them take the reins and find their first love in the form of a sport. You can’t force happiness on anyone just like you can’t force your toddler to enjoy the same sports you do. Your toddler isn’t going to come out being the perfect player overnight. They aren’t going to be signing up for the pros in a matter of a season. You as a parent, need to remember that while it is just a game, it’s also your toddler’s future that you’re forming.

So give your toddler a ball. Or a leotard. Or a bat. Let them figure out if they’re going to have the passion. Let them see if their first love involves a bat or a pair of cleats. And when they miss the goal or don’t catch the ball, don’t dwell on it. Gloss past it and let them know they were awesome. Their future may depend on it.

Cover Image Credit: Clip Art Fest

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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13 Gifts That Any Sports Fanatic Is Sure To Love

These gifts are sure to be a hole in one.

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Check out these 13 gifts that any sports lover in your life will absolutely love this holiday season.

1. NFL Barware Crate

This NFL Barware Crate from Man Crates is ideal for any football fan. It includes pint glasses with any NFL team's logo, bottle openers and a mix of bar nuts. The perfect mix of gifts for the perfect football Sunday.

2. NBA ugly Christmas sweater

If your sports fan is a fan of the NBA like me, they would LOVE this NBA ugly Christmas sweater. It's festive and shows off who you're rooting for this basketball season.

3. Knitted beer mitt

I'm from Wisconsin so, obviously, I'm a Green Bay Packers fan. Most of our football season is played in the winter, and Lambeau Field's nickname is "the frozen tundra," but that doesn't stop us fans from going to Green Bay and supporting our green and gold. And what's a football game without beer? This knitted beer mitt is ideal for any football fan that cheers their team out in the cold.

4. Golf mug

For the golf fan who is also a fan of coffee. With this coffee mug, you also get a mini golf ball and a putter that is actually a pen. During some downtime in the office, start a round of golf.

5. The Sports Bucket List book

This sports bucket list book written by Rob Fleder and Steven Hoffman is a great gift for a sports fan who likes to travel. The book includes 101 different and memorable places, games and matches around the world. Gift this book to your sports lover and help them complete their brand new bucket list!

6. MLB game used uniform wallet

This wallet is definitely something a baseball fan would cherish for a long time. This wallet includes interior dividers that are made from game-used MLB jerseys. You can choose from seven MLB teams.

7. Funny sports socks

One of the most practical ways to tell someone you're busy watching football. These socks are not only cozy but sport the, "Shhh, I'm watching football" saying to let everyone know that you shouldn't be bothered while your feet are up.

8. Vineyard Vines college shirt

Vineyard Vines is a brand that is known to be worn around college campuses. If your sports fan is currently enrolled at a university and loves supporting his colors, this shirt is the perfect fit for him this football season.

9. Unique cuff links

If your man is strictly business but loves strutting off the love for his NFL team, these subtle but super unique cufflinks are best gift he'll receive yet. They are not only classy, but the color inside is actually a piece from an NFL stadium seat!

10. Game used hockey puck bottle opener

For the hockey fanatic that also is a fanatic for brews. These hockey puck bottle openers are not only cool (hockey pun intended) but were once played as game pucks for an NHL game.

11. Sports mug with backboard 

This mug is fun for all ages and comes in other sports like football, basketball and more. For once you won't get yelled at for playing with your food.

12. Their favorite player's jersey

Every sports fanatic has a favorite player. A jersey is one of the easiest but one of the best gifts you can get someone. If they have one already, get them one from a different era or a different color!

13. Tickets to a sporting event

Another easy but perfect gift for a sports fan. Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event. Give them an experience they will never forget.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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