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Give Sports a Chance: 10 Lessons Kids Can Learn

I pretty much failed at every athletic endeavor I tried growing up… anything I was introduced to in PE class which resembled a sport, that cringe-worthy summer of softball, and those two hilarious years of ballet and tap. You’d think I’d try to steer my own kids away from sports, but instead I do what I can to encourage them to give any sport a shot. Here are some of the cool things I told them they could learn:


  1. Trying something new might lead to unexpected things. First of all, you might have more fun than you thought you would, and you might make some amazing friends. It’s a break from screens and the routine of home life. At the very least, you are getting some exercise and learning a new skill!
  2. Showing up is half the battle. You might not feel like doing to the practices and games, especially if a losing streak has visited your team, you’re having an issue with a teammate or are tired of playing outside in the cold or heat. Think about how you have to show up at school or you fail. This extends into more areas of your life later on, like friendship, family, work and marriage. Be the kind of person who shows up because it’s going to be a real stand-out character trait.
  3. Learning how to handle disappointment will carry you through life. When you’re older, you may get fired from a job, fail a college exam, tank a few relationships. It’s okay to experience losing when you’re young … it prepares you for life later. But try to be a good loser because it looks ridiculous when people act like big babies over something that is meant to be played in fun.
  4. Being a good winner shows character. Learning how to be a graceful winner is just as important as learning how to be a graceful loser. Gloating and bragging are not cute in kids and definitely are not cute in adults. Shake hands and tell kids from the other team they did a great job.
  5. It’s not always going to be fair. No matter what the call is or how the other team plays, you should always play fair. You know what is right, so do it. A good athlete – and person – is honest and trustworthy. Also, a ref may make a call that was seen from a different angle or viewpoint and you know for a fact it was one way, but you still have to respect that call.
  6. Teamwork is everything. You will always need this skill so listen to others, respect differences, support others. Succeed or fail, but do it together. Every member of the team is important so don’t downplay your place (or the place of others) on the team.
  7. Confidence and passion make up for a lack in ability many times. You will go into a game more confident if you made all the team practices and also practiced extra at home. Not the best kicker on the soccer team? Feel that inner confidence, take a deep breath and just keep trying. Don’t be scared to fail, do your best, practice and try your hardest.
  8. Mistakes are how we learn … and something we all make. You may want to groan when someone on your team doesn’t make an easy shot but instead try to understand they are still learning or maybe their mind wandered … they are just kids like you. Don’t have a fit if the ref makes a bad call or if the coach takes someone out then loses the game. You are also going to mess up sometimes and you want the same patience from your teammates, refs, other parents and coaches.
  9. Leadership opportunities always present themselves. I love the teams who rotate the team captain responsibility so they can all give it a try and see if they have a strength they didn’t realize they had. Even if you are not captain you can still exhibit leadership skills by helping out younger kids or kids who need help with their skills. Help where you can, even if that just means handing out snacks and drinks after the games.
  10. Downtime is okay. Ah, patience. Sometimes there is waiting around in sports. Some sports move more slowly than others, and some teams have more players than others. Sometimes you’ll have to play the entire game and sometimes you’ll be sitting out for half of it. Use downtime to make friends on the bench … but don’t forget to cheer on your team.

What will you and your kid learn if you give sports a chance?

By Kerrie McLoughlin



Codeverse, the world’s first fully interactive coding studio for kids aged 6-13, is coming to Naperville in Fall/Winter 2018! It’ll be located at 55 S. Main Street, Suite 230.

Codeverse offers after-school and weekend coding classes as well as weeklong camps. During class, kids learn to code, build apps and games, and control cutting-edge technology, including lights, speakers, robotic arms, 3D printers and more!

To sign up for the Codeverse Naperville wait list:

Lombard Park District
Come join thousands of others and try Lombard Park District’s brand new Madison Meadow Athletic Center this Fall! The new facility includes: a fitness center, cardio equipment with TVs, free weights, a selectorized weight circuit, an indoor track, two fitness studios, two basketball courts, an On Demand Fitness System, group fitness classes, babysitting services, and more! Check out for more information and learn about all of our group fitness offerings or stop by for a tour in person at 500 E Wilson in Lombard. 630-519-5859.

Splash Central Indoor Aquatic Center, Bartlett Park District
Take a wild ride at Splash Central and experience a New Way to Play! Amenities include a six-lane, 25-yard, 3.5 to 12 foot depth lap pool, One meter diving board, a zero-depth entry activity pool ranging from zero to 3.5 foot depth, body slide, kiddie slide and water spray features. Available for year-round swim lessons, private rentals, group outings, birthday parties, fitness classes, special events and much more. Located in the Bartlett Community Center at 700 S. Bartlett Rd., Bartlett, IL 60103. For hours of operation and more information call 630.540.4800 or visit

All Seasons Hockey
We welcome you to All Seasons Developmental Hockey Program. Our program has been serving the community for the past five years and is one of the best at developing quality hockey players in the Chicagoland area. The reason is simple : we specialize in skating mechanics and techniques developed by USA Hockey. We provide a solid foundation for your child’s development in safe and energetic environment. Our low instructor to skater ratio will give them the personalized instruction they need to succeed in a family friendly atmosphere where sportsmanship and fun are essential in the growth of your child. 31 W. 330 North Aurora Rd, Naperville. For more info call Chris Chelios at 630-851-0755 x. 813 or by email at

Illinois Stampede
The Illinois Stampede travel basketball program is open to boys and girls 4th grade thru high school. Our program consist of skilled AAU level players as well as players transitioning from park district and YMCA basketball programs that are looking for the next challenge. Our program is focused on teaching the core fundamental skills and concepts of the game of basketball and developing a complete player. Through our program efforts of teaching and coaching we also provide a positive environment for our players to become skilled in the fundamentals, be a part of a competitive team, and have fun playing the game of basketball.

Great Lakes Volleyball Center
The GLCYA is accepting girls and boys ages 2-14 for the Great Lakes Center Youth Volleyball Academy Fall, Club, Winter and Spring programs. All sessions focus on motor development and individual skill development by teaching both proper skill technique and introducing the young athlete to age appropriate game play as well for volleyball. We are also offering fall clinics and lessons for all ages.  The Sports Performance program for 6th – 12th grade boys and girls will hold tryouts this fall for all of our club teams. The Great Lakes Volleyball Center is located at 579 N. Oakhurst Drive, Aurora, IL. 60502. For more info call 630-898-6400 or visit  FB: Great Lakes Center Youth Academy

Rock ‘n’ Kids!
Calling all toddlers to sing, dance and play the Rock ‘n’ Kids way! Tot Rock and Kid Rock are structured music and movement programs for children ages 1-5 that use a unique approach to music education! Since 1995, Rock ‘n’ Kids has been educating young children through imaginative play, sensory integration, fine and gross motor skills, and socialization. A variety of rhythm instruments and movement props are utilized and a new educational theme is implemented each session! It’s music and fun rolled into one! Classes offered at park districts in the Chicago-land area. / 847-961-6584.



Main Event
Main Event birthdays are epic for kids! We have the most birthday FUN under one roof, with state-of-the-art bowling, multi-level laser tag and an arcade games gallery featuring more than 100 of the latest interactive arcade games. We have multiple packages to fit any budget and each package includes a dedicated party host that takes cares of it all, so you can relax. Heart-pounding FUN for kids, Stress-Free party for Moms for non-stop FUN. 2575 Pratum Ave., locations in Hoffman Estates and, 28248 Diehl Road, Warrenville.

Fleetwood Roller Rink
Fleetwood Roller Rink is a family owned business. Our venue hosts public skating, birthday parties (our specialty) privates and fundraisers. We promote family fun for all ages plus for “health sake, roller skate” Come visit us and join in our fun.  Instruction available every Saturday at 1 pm   Check for our ongoing specials and public skating times

Safari Land
Let Your Adventure Begin! Safari Land has everything you need for a complete adventure. Whether it’s bowling, video games, rollercoaster, kiddie carts, food or other fun, Safari Land is the place for your party. Come ride the tiger terror…take a spin in our 360 degree, full-motion, 3D flight simulator, play in our soft play area, or throw some strikes during cosmic bowling. Buy a wristband for only $10 (see details on ad). Contact us to book your next adventure of a lifetime. 701 W. North Avenue, Villa Park. 630-530-4649. Visit

Odyssey Fun World
The place for out of this world family fun for all ages!  Plan your next birthday party here. Two fun locations with 200+ arcade and redemption games, a 4-story soft play center, Laser Tag, numerous exciting indoor rides, and great food. Visit for exclusive discounts, or call 708-429-3800. 19111 S. Oak Park Avenue, Tinley Park, and, 3440 Odyssey Ct., Naperville.


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