Kids sports can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating ordeals you can experience as a parent.  It's a great way to let your kids get exercise, make friends, learn a different type of discipline (team/coach mentality), and more - but it can be taxing on kids who struggle to meet the expectations.

Case in point is my son Deacon.  We recently signed this incredible 10 year old up for Fall soccer because he chose that over football.  This will be his 2nd season playing, but this time it's very different.  The atmosphere is more intense, and the expectations are much higher.  After the second practice, the coach and I had a discussion about Deacon's performance, how little playing time he might receive unless he improves, and how that would affect the team.  Unfortunately, my son heard most of this conversation before we could talk about it - and it crushed his spirit.  Deacon told me on the way home that he wanted to quit soccer because he was scared he would let the team and his coach down.

This is, quite frankly, one of the most difficult decisions I have ever faced as a father.  Should I let him make his own decisions and live with the consequences - even if that means learning to quit when it's tough?  Should I tell him he can't quit and force him to go to practice just to sit on the bench all season to teach him to honor his commitments?

A few years ago, this was a lot easier.  Back then, I would have told him that he would do what I say and that would be that - but now, we are more concerned with raising a good man who can make good decisions.  If I decide for him, am I eroding his confidence?

Luckily, Deacon's moment of self-doubt passed and now he is more determined than ever.  He has decided to pour more effort than ever into getting better at soccer, and earning his spot on the team.  We have also started a cross-fit type of program on days he doesn't have soccer to help catch up to some of his team mates.

To say that I am proud of my son would be a monumental understatement.  His actions off and on the field continue to impress, inspire, and humble me on a daily basis.  His decision to tough it out is just one of the reasons he is a winner before the game even starts.

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