How one Chicago mom is giving her boys a sporting chance

I spent my entire Botox savings account on summer sports camps this year.

And I am not the least bit ashamed.

When I first pulled my oldest from his selective enrollment school to attend a private Catholic school, there were loud voices of dissent:

“Catholic schools only care about sports!”

“Public schools are better because they are interested in teaching actual science versus that whole ‘God fallacy’ thing.’”

“Have fun sending your non-sporty kid right into the lion’s den of athletics and future steroid use.”

To which I responded in my best James Earl Jones voice:


I had enough of my sons believing Pokemon and chess were aerobic activities. I was ready for some traumatic brain injury and full body casts.

My three boys run the gamut in matters of natural athleticism. One son is off the charts in terms of size and strength, but is as slow as molasses in January. Another son has phenomenal speed, but not a hint of competitive spirit. He might as well be a Tibetan monk. My last son views sports as purely social and chats up base runners at tee-ball like a Chicago politician.

Yet in an age where kids are becoming more and more sedentary, my own flock is being taught that I expect them to move. I once read about the Kennedy clan and how the nine kids would scatter to the wind whenever Old Man Joe Kennedy approached. They would play football, dive into the water, or jump into a sailboat simply to give the impression that they weren’t sitting around all day playing checkers.

I want to be Old Man Kennedy.

And I’d also like a sailboat.

But most importantly, I want my kids to move. The benefits of organized sports are proven. Athletics instill a sense of physical fitness throughout one’s life. They keep many kids out of trouble and away from drugs. Sports teach discipline, commitment and teamwork.

For kids who prefer more individual activities, there is tennis, swimming, running and a host of others. I understand not all children enjoy contact sports. Hell, I don’t even like to sit next to people at the doctor’s office. I get it.

So I was somewhat prepared for the pushback from my middle son after I told him he was attending the Baseball-Football combo camp at Brother Rice High School this week. Captain Non-Competitive started digging in about not going yesterday morning.

To which I responded:


Once I pay, there is no turning back. HELLO? This is not new information, Jack.

When I picked the kids up at the end of the day, that same child was a sweaty, smiling mess. I asked how it went.

“Dave Diehl from the NEW YORK GIANTS was there! And guess what?! He said he knew Uncle Kevin AND Daddy!!”

My husband’s brother is a childhood friend of Dave Diehl’s, but in Jack’s confused little world, he may now believe my husband actually played for the New York Giants.

So I’m rolling with it.

At least until camp is over.

And if he asks, please play along with my having been the only 6-foot women’s Olympic gymnast EVER. I’ve got them convinced I was practically Nadia Comaneci. Perhaps I even won a gold medal or two. I may have been a savant on the balance beam.

Still not ashamed.

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