Sports Story

4 Things to be Thankful for This Year in Youth Sports

By Melissa Wickes
November 22, 2023
3 min

During times of volatility and uncertainty in this world, there are a few things that we as humans often find ourselves coming back to for some common ground. Sometimes it’s music, TV, movies. A lot of the time it’s sports.

A repeat joke on the internet year after year around Thanksgiving is whether or not the family is going to argue at the dinner table about politics, religion, or another contentious topic—like  whether or not they believe Taylor and Travis are a publicity stunt (they’re not, FYI). 

However, if you’re a youth coach, organizer, or parent of a player, the chances your family is sitting down and giving each other the youth sports updates in your life are high. 

Debbie has been counting down the days until she can show the whole family videos of Conor’s cross country meet, where he broke a PR by 14 seconds. 

Laurelle is excited to tell everyone that Kyle just signed up for his first lacrosse clinic (and that they’re using LeagueApps!). 

Devin will take Lucas and Keane outside and show them the way around a soccer ball—a chance to relive his own glory days in youth sports.

However it manifests at your holiday table, try to take a moment to appreciate the little things happening around you everyday in youth sports because these moments won’t be around forever and they give us something to look forward to amongst the chaos of life today. 

Here are 4 things we’re thankful for in youth sports.

The Firsts

Every kid experiences “firsts” in sports—whether it’s a first homerun, first time getting in the game, or first big win. These are fun to watch and share with others whether you’re the coach, parent, or lead the organization. 

The Proud Moments

Our colleague Bryce’s daughter’s team (for which he is an assistant coach) won the finals of an end-of-season tournament in overtime. An integral part of that win was his daughter’s game tying goal. Bryce was 9 days post-knee surgery, but that didn’t sotp him from jumping up and down on one leg in celebration. 

Similarly, our colleague Brian is assistant coach for his three sons’ basketball team. During their championship game (which they won), his three boys combined for all 35 of the team’s points—despite playing against a 6-foot tall eighth grader. It’s all about defense people!

The Community

Sports leagues bring communities together—that’s why Richard Corraine, COO and co-founder of Union Square Hospitality, says you can judge the health of a town based on the Little League field.  

“If you ever want to think about where you should live in any town, always go look at the Little League Field,” he says. “A little League field in a town that is kept up, is the town center, where banners are perfectly lined up, cleaned, and polished. Find a town where there’s a waiting list to be a sponsor of the team. That’s civic pride.”

Our colleague Jamie expressed her gratitude to her adult rec league NYC Footy (who happens to be one of LeagueApps’ oldest partners. She’s made some of her best friends through adult soccer, and continues to love the community it has given her, even as her own son approaches soccer-playing age.

The Laughs

To put it simply, kids are funny. When the world feels like it’s turning upside down, it can be healing to watch the most innocent among us having fun, laughing, and learning on the field or the court. While most of my memories growing up playing basketball do not include scoring, all of them include laughing with my teammates and my dad, who was my coach. 

The holidays can be challenging for more people than you might think. For me, when the days are a little tougher to navigate, finding some common ground is what helps. Our whole team at LeagueApps hopes you enjoy sharing your team wins with whoever you spend this holiday with.

And if you want to share your team wins with us so we can spotlight you on social and in our Youth Sports Highlight Reel Newsletter, email me!