Most kids grow up rooting for their favorite team, whether it be the local high school or professional sports. Whether football, baseball, hockey, or basketball was your sport of choice, or perhaps more than one, chances are you weren’t watching the games alone. And if you’re anything like how my parents are, instilling your love for your favorite sports team into your children’s hearts is something at the top of your priority list.
Since my mom’s family is from Pittsburgh and my dad’s is from Philadelphia, I grew up with friendly battles as my parents tried to sway my sister and I to become fans of their city’s sports. With lots of enthusiasm and a little luck, Mom eventually won us over – sorry, Dad.
Fostering a shared love with family for a specific sport or team is a great way to build and strengthen relationships. As a parent or grandparent wanting to share something with the children in your life, a sports game is fun for people of all ages.
Attending games can be made a day-long event to get everyone together in high spirits to root your team on! Sometimes tickets can get pricey and other reasons may prevent your family from attending a sporting event in person, but for most professional sports, the games are broadcasted on TV. Inviting the family over to sport your team’s gear and snack on some buffalo chicken dip while watching the game together is just as good as being there in person. Win or lose, what matters is the time you all spend together.
Even the times when you’re not with your kids, grandkids, or other members of your family, a shared love for a sports team doesn’t stop when you’re not together. In today’s world, we have so many ways to stay connected with our families. My family is all big Pittsburgh Penguins fans, and my Grandpa created a family group chat he entitled “Pens Pals” for us to text each other during the games. We update those who aren’t able to watch, cheer when we score a goal, and of course, complain when the refs make a call we don’t agree with.
When the Penguins won the Stanley Cup last June, none of us were able to celebrate the win together at the time. Lucky for us, our whole family convenes at the Jersey shore in late August every year, and we made sure not to let the championship go unrecognized. We all bought and wore matching Penguins t-shirts and had a night-long celebration at the beach. It didn’t matter that the season was well over and most people were already looking at the upcoming season; What mattered was that we had something that brought our family together to bond and be excited about.
Even if your family’s go-to team never makes playoffs or wins any championships, it’s the fun of the game that keeps the conversation going. With sports, there’s always something to talk about when you see your family in person or talk to them on the phone. Having a shared love for anything, not just sports, brings people together.
The ups and downs of sports teams is what keeps fans on their feet and keeps them leaning on their fellow fans for support and cheers. My dad’s side of the family is fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, and although they stuck together with optimism through years and years of disappointment, a Super Bowl win this year sure tasted sweet. All football season long, I noticed the way the Eagles dictated a lot of our conversations during family get-togethers. Growing up in the Philadelphia area, most of my friends and their families are also Eagles fans, and the Super Bowl certainly gave them something to gather for and talk about.
Passing down your love for your favorite sports team is nothing different than sharing a family recipe with your children. You want them to have the same joy you do and it’s something that allows you to bond together. And one day, I’m sure you hope they’ll continue the tradition and pass it down to their kids and generations to come.
How have sports teams brought your family together? Share Your Story with us!
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