1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thumb war…. It’s one of my favorite times of the day. There is so much joy in the simple act of waiting at the bus stop with my son and having a thumb war tournament that is ongoing to 100. The phone is off, there is a lot of laughter and a bit of trash talking, and, most importantly, for about 10 minutes I get to ignore the outside noise.
I have found that it’s more and more important for me to find those 10 minutes each day. As our student-athletes get older and progress, the stress of school and athletics can increase. There’s more travel, higher competition, or maybe a development team tryout that’s coming up. One of the things that I’m most proud about with USPA is that it easily provides our students the unique ability to find that time.
Our students have left a traditional school environment that can be rigid and focused on a large group instead of the individual learning experience. I remember performing a time audit in one of my past schools, and we were using almost an hour out of the day passing between classes alone. I love that USPA students’ work is completed within their studies. When their academic day is done, it’s DONE. There isn’t any stress of racing home to finish 3 hours of homework before tomorrow’s history or English class. The point being, our students can find that time throughout their day to do something else important to them. It could be cycling, playing an instrument, hanging with friends, or simply having dinner as a family. Those moments are incredibly important, and are something we have been so excited about being able to provide our students. Yes, we ask a lot from them, and they work incredibly hard. However, they learn to be self-directed learners working with their Learning Coach, managing the multitude of demands on their time, and are encouraged throughout the experience to remember to take time for themselves.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning the parents in our community, as well: the often overlooked heroes of your son’s/daughter’s life experiences. The team bus driver, snack provider, or at points a punching bag when we fall on the mountain, miss a shot, or simply don’t succeed. Please remember to find time for yourself away from the stresses of work, raising a high-performance athlete, and trying to be a parent. It’s hard, and I’m just getting started, but I’ve found that it’s important for me to walk the walk as I stress this to the students I work with daily. So, I’ve started taking time in the morning to do some sort of exercise to clear my head and prepare for the day. I’ve found that I’m far more productive if I get out and do something.
At USPA, family comes first. Remember to take time for yourselves. Start with that 10 minutes when you’re just focused on what makes you relax or laugh. That said, it’s 8:30 AM as I write this, I lost 5 matches this morning waiting for the bus and am down in the running tournament 73 to 64. We laughed the whole time, and losing has never been so much fun.