I recently visited the Burkburnett Public Library to read a selection to children from my book, Confessions of a 4th Grade Athlete. I introduced the kids to Nate, his friends, his sometimes pesky sister, and of course, the Attention Monster. I asked them if they could imagine a town named Sportsville and if their attention ever strayed during class. We talked about competition and Nate’s perception of it according to his football coach: “If you want to be on the Blue Team, you have to knock someone off…”
What about if you make the team, but don’t always get to play? Nate says, “It wasn’t my best game, mainly because the coach forgot to put me in it…” Nate’s mom always knows the right thing to say, mainly that being on the Blue Team isn’t everything. Although Nate counters with, “If you aren’t on first string, most of the boys who are will take great care to remind you that you aren’t…”
The characters that color Nate’s adventures include Lee, the frenemy across the street to an antisocial fellow, the Broom Man, who whacks Randy’s brother’s windshield with his broom when he is coming home one night, and a trio of martial arts girls known as the Pesky Jackjeskies.
Maybe some of Nate’s most sound advice for those kids who are athletically inclined is “Kevin needs to learn to play because he likes the game, not because it is an emotional burden.”
I do enjoy reading to kids, and in my work with libraries, I certainly get the opportunity to do that. We examine funny, make believe worlds to everyday lessons on history, values, conflict and more. If you have an opportunity, do something that really counts, volunteer, mentor, teach….read to your kids or to other kids.