Here’s the most important sports thing you can do this fall

By Steve McKay- If you’ve read a few of my columns over the last year or so, you’ve likely noticed I tend to drone-on about my grandkids a bit. That’s right….I have grandchildren (this is where you remark “Gee, you don’t look old enough to have grandkids, Steve!” Crickets chirping…)

Of course, I love all seven of the grandkids for a variety of reasons, including the fact that these young whipper-snappers often teach me life-lessons without even being aware they are doing so. Case in point:

This past Tuesday the caboose of the family, our youngest grandkid McKenna was at our house playing with a doll house in our living room. Typically McKenna will play by herself for a time, then she will look up at me and ask “Hey Bampy, will you come down here and play with me?”

It’s not as easy for me to ease myself down to the floor (and then stand-up) as it used to be, so I usually pull-up a chair and reach down to play with her (yes, I play with the doll house when she is with us, which makes me very cool in her eyes. Her opinion of me is much more important than yours, so back-off with the judgement.)

Usually after a few minutes McKenna will look up at me again and say “Come on….get down on the floor!” At McKenna’s urging I then get out of the chair and lower myself to sit on the floor with her. I must admit it is a different experience for both her and me when I am sitting at her level on the floor as opposed to sitting in the chair or standing above her. Being with McKenna at her level, while sitting on the floor is a more personal, intimate, and meaningful experience.

Fall sports season is here! This autumn in the McKay crew, we will have kids playing soccer, field hockey, golf and ice hockey, and we will do our best to attend every game and match we can. You know why? Because it means a ton to the kids to have us there, watching, rooting, and investing our time in things they care about.

Sure, there have been times I’ve thought how much better it would be to stay home munching on Fiddle-Faddle while watching yet another episode of Counting Cars. Yet when I’m on my way home from another blustery soccer field or chilled hockey rink, I’m always glad I showed-up to support and cheer-on the kids. Little McKenna reminds me of the importance of showing-up, I mean-really showing-up, even if sometimes it’s kind of painful to do so.

So come on, parents and grands! No whining about how cold or windy it is this fall, or how you could be doing this or that at work or home instead of “enduring” another game of some sort. This season of your life will be a short one big picture-wise. The best gift you can give your young’uns is your positive presence.

So, be there as much as you can with a smile on your kisser….you’ll be really glad you did…..once you warm-up a bit, and perhaps throw-in a good nap.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.