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Frank Hooks

Frank Hooks

Dad Blogger

Frank is a professional mechanical engineer, general contractor and HVAC/R contractor in the state of California. Frank is a graduate of University of California at San Diego with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Frank is president and CEO of Systems Operation Services specializing in mechanical engineering and contracting throughout southern California building industry. However, his biggest vocation is husband and father.

Frank is adding bloggist to his resume, so that he may share thoughts and musing of marriage and fatherhood with you. No expertise is offered or implied.

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Kids need Downtime Too!

I can smell it in the air. After playing baseball for ten years from caps through varsity baseball, watching and coaching my son play baseball from t-ball through majors, I instinctively know it's the beginning of baseball season because of the smell of the cut grass. There's something to the smell of cut grass after winter and the warming of the air that wants me to go get my glove out of the garage. Opening day is probably around the corner for many of you. My days of being around the field are over, but I do get to enjoy the stories of other dads whose boys are playing little league.

Kids these days just don't understand the changing of the seasons. I'm not talking about spring, summer, fall and winter. I'm talking about sport seasons like baseball season or football season or basketball season. These terms don't exist in our post modern world because the season lasts all year. There is never a break. There is never any down time. There is no time to try something different. There is only the pressure to perform.

How did we get to this point? I really don't know because I don't remember any of this stuff existing even twenty five years ago. The only explanation can be to get the competitive edge on your opponent. If we practice during the off season, then our players will be in top form when the season starts. For baseball players this has turned into playing on a "travel team" which means that you're playing year round. Often times games are scheduled on Sundays, so as not to interfere with football, soccer or basketball. However, coaches and leagues and schools have gotten bolder. Now there is spring season, summer league, fall ball and winter whatever. The kids are told if they don't play year round, then they don't have a chance to be good enough to make the high school team in that sport. This just doesn't go for baseball. It's par for the course in soccer, basketball and girls' softball among other sports.

If your kids are of age and playing in baseball or soccer, then you've probably been approached and have felt pressure to get your kid into one of these programs. These programs are not cheap either. You have to pay for coaching, field rentals, umpire fees and tournament fees. Then they like to schedule games at 7:00am on Saturday and Sunday mornings fifty miles from your community. I'm hear to tell you that you don't have to do any of this despite the pressure you are feeling. Very few kids go through all of these programs and become dominant players in high school and college.

There is one flaw in everyone's thinking. Kids are people too. They have thoughts, feelings, wants and desires just like the rest of us. This means that after playing soccer or baseball or football for five or six years they want to try something different. Another good thing going for the kids is that they start puberty. Hormones go rushing through their bodies and it's like a disco ball went off in their head. Sure teenagers are the bane to parents, but thank god they have a mind of their own and all don't want to be the next Barry Bonds. It makes the world so much more interesting. Once the kids get to high school a whole new world opens to them. There are many more opportunities than were available to them as children. Water polo, cross country, golf, tennis, track, swim, cheer, drill team, band etc. If they have a passion for it, they will excel at it. Remember, when the kids are ten years old, you can't predict how big or strong or fast they're going to be when they are sixteen or seventeen years old.

Remember, this is just my personal opinion. I know a lot of people who are involved in travel sports that would be surprised by my sentiments, but I've lived and learned and hopefully someone with a 10 year old kid out there can save themselves a thousand bucks and just let their kid be a kid. Let's get back into our own communities and support the kids and families we have right in our own back yard and stop driving 75 miles to somewhere else. Develop what you have and good things will follow.

When you do something week after week, year after year it's not called sport. It's called work. All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy.

Tags: Frank Hooks Family & Friends

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