Inside Sports for Sunday — November 27, 2005

• Singling out mothers and fathers

Singling out mothers and fathers

By Duane Shimogawa Jr. – The Garden Island

Raising a young soccer, football, basketball or baseball player can be tough, even when both parents are at their side, trying to teach the right ways to flourish in the sport and in life.

But when you’re a single mother or father, the task becomes as tough as a Kuhio Lounge bouncer.

When I attend most athletic events across the island, there’s always a few single parents out there, trying to make odds meet, when the odds are against them.

Jim Traber, a single parent in Wailua, told me that the hardest part is trying to teach his child the things that most moms usually cover.

“I do admit though, that I love the grave amount of time I get to teach Taylor about the sport of soccer,” Traber said.

Practices for their athletes are very important, and sometimes a single parent has to make a ton of sacrifices to get them to the field or court.

Lacy Laukona, a parent of a youth basketball player, said that it’s tough enough making it to games, but the practices are the hard part.

“I have to work two jobs, but luckily my family and friends help me out by taking Keisha to practices,” Laukona said.

Sports play a huge role in the growing-up phase of a child. For one, it teaches them lessons that they probably wouldn’t learn at home or in school. Athletics forces individuals, especially youngsters, to be open and social with others, including adults such as coaches and officials.

Ask any parent around who has or had a child in a youth sport and they’ll tell you that it’s a winwin situation getting kids involved with sports from the start.

For Michelle Lapsky, who raises three kids by herself, nothing stands in her way when her children want to play different types of sports.

“I’ll quit my job and find another one that accommodates my children’s needs. If they need to get to practice or if I work on game days, I’ll stop at nothing to get there,” Lapsky said. It’s easy as a parent to get wrapped up in the sport your child is participating in and for most, when one season is over, the next one begins the following week. Cory Morse, who has been raising his two girls for three years, noted that it’s a tough job trying to coach his two children.

“I love to coach, but for me, it’s hard to not be tougher on my kids. It’s just natural instinct to be on them all the time,” Morse said.

There are many individuals who coach just because their sons and daughters are on the team, and for some it works; for others, it poses a problem.

“I know some parents just coach to get their son or daughter ahead of the game. You can tell their intentions right away. Just look at the games and watch how they treat the other kids,” Morse said.

On the flip side though, it’s hard to find good coaches and most times, the best coaches have kids who play the same sport.

“I know that if I can lend my vast knowledge to just one kid, I’m doing my job. It’s a very rewarding job and I just try to keep things in perspective — I’m not the star anymore, it’s the kids,” Morse said.


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