Friday, March 17, 2017

#Sports for kids - #Parenting #Badminton #Canada #NB411

The conversation went something like this.

"I dare not ask.  Can you ask?"  Then Rebecca replied "She made it to finals for mixed doubles".

Soon I text Natasha "Congratulations. I am rooting for you, Mintra and Andrew".  Reply "Oh yeah, we made it to mixed doubles but the singles and doubles are tomorrow".

This weekend and the next 2 weekends, the three kids are playing for their school team Moncton High School.  Then the 3 weekends after that, they are playing for their Moncton Badminton Club. The club goes to a lot more tournaments than the school.

Putting kids in sports is not a walk in the park.  Many tournaments are out of town and involve long drives, hotels and food and then the kids need entertainment.  But what is interesting about tournaments is because they are Friday, Saturday and Sunday if your kid (or any kid you drove to the tournament) makes it to the finals on Sunday.

The Moncton community for sporting kids is tight.  The kids usually miss school on Fridays but their coaches ensure that they catch up for the missed day while staying in the hotels.  In fact, the kids keep checking with their teachers and friends for the lessons of the day and the school work that has to be done and on Monday they just show up at school as if they did not miss a day of school.

Parents, teachers and coaches arrange car pooling so NO KID LEFT BEHIND.  Among all of us, there is usually a parent who can take the day off and drive the kids.  The hard part is bedtime.  About 3 years ago one of their coaches noticed that the kids were playing lousy in the morning matches.  He then put a policy in place to put all of them to bed early enough for them to be sharply awake at 8am.

The trips always include chaperons.  We have parents skipping out of work and the mothers supervise the girls while the fathers supervise the boys.  In the end we all gain and our kids excel because after you win gold in sports, believe me, your grades will be a breeze for this time you are staring at a bunch of writing on a piece of paper and not watching the other kid hit your face with the bird or ball.

I will write about soccer and track/field when the season opens in a few months.  Although sports and music should be provided for free for all the children, it gets prohibitively expensive for a small province like New Brunswick which has a population of only 750,000 and hence a small tax paying population.  Parents end up paying for all these things.  Fortunately, the Canadian government now allows us to claim sports and arts for the children and that helps to reduce the taxes.  The parents who cannot afford to pay for these things out of pocket also have the option of talking to the schools to make arrangements for their children to get involved and the schools work with government authorities to ensure that NO KID IS LEFT BEHIND.

I hope you consider Canada as your next home away from home.  More specifically, you should come to Moncton, New Brunswick.  We need an influx of 3,000 immigrants as I speak.  Perhaps one of our kids will welcome you, teach your kid, be taught by your kid or be your junior coach.  Natasha is a volunteer junior coach.  Perhaps they will become buddies and head to Parlee Beach together to explore the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.  God forbid if they take your kid to jump off the Pointe Du Chene Wharf!  This freaked me out the first time I saw it till I noticed the port authority were standing nearby watching the kids fly into the ocean and then ensuring every little silly head resurfaced.  WELCOME TO CANADA WHERE YOU BELONG.

Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton, Canada
PS:  I have never watched the kids play or compete.  We have a court where I practice with her for her to improve but she will not allow any family members when she is competing.

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