Wanted: Sports Parents this School Year
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - June 28, 2020 - 12:00am

It’s time to shine sports parents! You all have a new challenge these days, and it’s not about sports. The new game? Online learning, the new normal in education. When classes start, students will remain in the comforts of their homes to be “present” when attendance is checked. The house is the “classroom.” And with teachers conducting their lectures from another location, parents and guardians will now have to step up to the plate (and deliver).

This is where sports parents won’t have to make too big of an adjustment. The best sports parents are those who provide all-out support for their children in sports; they are multi-tasking super heroes who can do it all. They drive their kids to practice and games, and serve as water boys, towel girls, umbrella girls, nurses, photographer, camera men, kargador and cheerleaders. When home, they turn into laundrymen, guidance counselors, massage therapists and cooks. To cap it all, they don’t get paid for their services!

The best sports parents also know their “don’ts.” They don’t coach their kids or the teams of their kids from the bleachers. They support all the coaches’ decisions at practice and at games. They obviously don’t do the “playing” for their kids. They don’t jeer at or quarrel with the other team’s members, coaches, supporters and fellow parents. And they recognize that true value of sports is not in the winning of games but in the personal development of their children. The real medal or trophy is how their children become better versions of themselves and not the collections of medals or trophies collected in a lifetime.

And now that online classes will be the norm, sports parents can easily switch hats from sports to academics. In fact, it’s going to be easier. For starters, there is no need to travel outside the house. Their main task is to provide the proper environment in the house where learning becomes a natural thing. They’ll designate a place in the house that will serve as the “classroom.” When synchronous or live classes are held, parents or guardians will ensure that their children are physically and mentally present. When asynchronous (not live) methods are utilized, parents and guardians will see to it that their children receive all the learning materials and study these during the class day. The asynchronous approach will be heavier vis-à-vis the synchronous sessions and this means that someone has to be there assist the students. And while that’s happening, parents are also cooking and preparing snacks for recess and meals for lunch break. They’re also ensuring that the internet connection is stable and that the computer or laptop is functioning well.

And like sports, parents and guardians also know their “don’ts”. The most obvious is that they don’t sit in the class for their children. You laugh now but I’m sure some parents won’t be able to escape the itch to listen in on the lectures of their children’s teachers. They also won’t do the school work for their children (or will they?) Quizzes, exams, homework? Hmm. We recognize that the situation may be different for the underprivileged segment of society that may not have access to internet and equipment needed for online learning. This is where parents and guardians will have to be more creative and resourceful. But if there’s a will, there’s a way.

The goal? Honors, awards? Parents realize that the ultimate goal of education will not be the high grades, number of academic awards or medals that their kids receive. High grades and medals don’t define the student and this will be highlighted more with online education. What matters most is what they do in life. To cite SHS-Ateneo de Cebu Sr. High School Principal Madam Annie Abucay each time she quotes Tony Wagner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, “What matters most is not what you know, but what you can do with what you know.”

Let’s clarify that all parents and guardians are capable of becoming that key partner in the education of their children. You don’t have to be a sports parent to play this role well. I’m just biased for sports parents as I’ve seen them in action. It’s all about developing that selfless service for their children. You’ll be overworked. You won’t be paid. But will be extremely happy.

So parents, are you ready? Game!

bleachertalk@yahoo.com

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