Dryst is a jock. He absolutely loves being active with his body, and especially adores team sports. This despite the fact that neither parent is sports-oriented. I've never had an interest in such pursuits, to the point where I used to avoid anything to do with sports (though watching your own kids play is actually pretty fun). His Dad, while he can talk sports with the guys and is athletic on the hippie end of the spectrum, doesn't really keep up with the local and regional teams, unlike many men his age.
Ever since Dryst's first experience playing soccer on our town's recreational team when he was six, he's wanted to be out there on the field. Since then, he's played soccer, basketball, baseball (which was too slow-moving for him) and lacrosse. His goal is to get a college sports scholarship. A couple of years ago we were told that a three-sport athlete is more valuable to colleges, so he dropped baseball and discovered lacrosse, which he loves.
The past couple of soccer seasons have been disappointing for him. Last year he had good coaches, but our local travel league didn't have enough boys his age, so they ended up playing kids a year older. The size differences alone were significant, and he was discouraged that his team couldn't keep up. This year, there was no local team his age, so he's playing for a neighboring town. But he got put on the second team, since the first team is already full of kids that have been playing together for a while, and he's not being challenged as much as he should.
We recently received some information about a premier team being organized, and that would mean year-round soccer, along with skills training and playing in tournaments. These teams are great for player development, which is what he wants. But they're also a big commitment, in both time and money. He'd be playing or practicing 3 days a week, and we're trying to figure out how he can continue to pursue basketball and lacrosse. Premier leagues generally cost upwards of $1000. for the year, and the team's home base is about a 15 minute drive from our house.
It's important to me to support the kids' passions, and to also be realistic about what they can handle. If he's serious about playing college sports, then this is definitely the time to get more dedicated to his playing, and we're willing to make it work in terms of time and money. Yet having too much on his plate wouldn't be fun...and unschooling is all about enjoying what you do. He could quit if he got tired of it, but he's always been concerned about not letting his team down. That's not something we've overtly taught him, but an ethic he's absorbed by playing team sports over the years. If he commits to this, he'll most likely want to carry it through for the whole year.
I think it's really cool that Dryst found something he's so excited about and loves to do. A passion is a wonderful thing, and we'll help him follow it as far as he wants. And no matter what happens, he's learning and growing as he moves through his experience.