"Play ball" by Stephanie Stovall (

Photo by Chris Collins (2005) via, CC0 Public Domain

I hate registering my kids for sports.

There. I said it.

Every time I go to sign our family’s next few months away, I think, please don’t let this be the year our baseball team gets competitive.

Sports is one of those spiritual battles I am still trying to work through.

I’m just trying to figure out where our family’s fine line lies between recreational sports and no more family time ever again.

Dramatic, I know.

That’s one of my many downfalls.

I just can’t seem to figure this one out.

I want my kids to be a part of a team; there’s great value in that.

The being a part of something, the lesson of the commitments you make and keeping them active, those are all wonderful things.

I love the idea of having them try different sports until they find one they truly enjoy.

But it seems these days the world of youth athletics is going for (beginning at age 5) full-ride scholarships and Hall of Famers!

Then there’s the other part of this issue.

I want to be able to sign up for that couples’ bible study on a Tuesday night. And what about the lazy weekends when the family is at home, doing nothing but “being” together? I don’t want to give that up.

I know many wonderful families that live tournament to tournament and have a great time with the lifestyle. But I’m just not there. I can’t even watch my kids play the actual game because I’m running around chasing all my other little ones off the field! (Tooth Fairy came three years too early for one of those little crazies out at the ball fields in Strollergate 2015.)

Ay yay yay. The struggles of being a human.

These are the only solutions I have come up with …

  • Live in the moment, sports style. Discern what to do sports season to sports season. I don’t have to figure out our Family Sports Rules right now forever and ever, Amen.
  • If age allows, put some of the kids on the same team.
  • One sport at a time per season, per kid.
  • Joining a team with family friends.
  • Offer it up for some souls.

How do you wiser women out there navigate this season of mom-life? I’d love some helpful tips and thoughts!

Copyright 2018 Stephanie Stovall


About Author

Stephanie Stovall loves Oklahoma State University and hanging out with her husband. She keeps Holy Mary busy praying for patience with her five little boys. Stephanie loves God, Catholicism and evangelizing with all her heart! You can find more of her messy thoughts over on


  1. How do you reconcile the idea of Sunday sports? It seems like every sport has practices and games/matches on Sundays now, a day formerly reserved for family and worship. Is there any way to join a sports team without committing to Sundays? This is one of the main reasons we’ve yet to put our kids in sports. Thanks!

    • Hi Cece! Thanks for your comment. I feel you on this one. Finding a sport that doesn’t have practice, game or tournament on a Sunday is incredibly difficult. I think what Elyse and Elaine have said in the below comments are wonderful.
      Maybe one thing to consider (talking to myself here, too) is to have a conversation with the team coach at the very beginning of the season about your family not participating on Sundays, this way the weight of “expectation” is off our shoulders for Sundays.

  2. Great topic, Stephanie! Most of my 6 kids are out of the house, and as I look back on our years of sports and no-sports, I can see there’s no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. While our faith comes first in our family, I have to admit that sports have helped shape my children in very good ways.
    Your ground-rule of “one sport per season” is excellent; it helped us through the years. We added, “No quitting…you’re in for the season.”
    Another one has been: “no sports on Sunday.” At first it seems hard, but after awhile it becomes as natural to the kids as going to Mass every Sunday. They sometimes feel sorry for kids who have sports on Sundays! (It also sends a message to the folks who organize those Sunday games.)
    Those two basic rules helped keep the “sports-monster” from taking over our lives.
    Thanks for attacking this topic…it’s a hot one!

  3. As an older Mom, my children are now 27, 24 and 22, two boys and a girl respectively, we also had the one sport at a time rule which at times overlapped depending on the length of the season. There was however no questioning Sunday or Saturday Vigil Mass attendance (the two younger ones were also altar servers until they graduated from high school), and religious education class was never missed.
    I miss those days of watching and cheering them on but remember the games at the fields/rinks/courts occupying the younger ones with one eye on the game until they were older. My husband and I were a great tag team as were other parents helping with rides to get there early or for practice. Your boys will all have different loves…mine were in Scouting too for a while. Offer them choices and support them. My oldest majored in Sports Management in college and works now for the NY Red Bulls! God Bless your family.

    • Thank you for your wise words, Elaine!
      It is encouraging to hear from a mom that has lived through this struggle and survived it well.
      PS- I can tell you already that my oldest would LOVE that job, haha!

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