Opening day. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
I remember how my little league opening day song would blast over the old metal speakers at the ball fields. It still plays in my head, “Let’s go little leaguers! It’s a wonderful day for a game, it’s a ball, it’s a strike or a call you don’t like.”
This year, MLB’s opening day is delayed. NBA’s season is suspended. MLS is on pause, too. Youth sports and school sports – all crickets at the moment.
The world lost sports all at once, and for those of us who truly love playing and watching sports, it feels like a big part of your life is missing. It’s why you hum your baseball opening day song every year even 25 years later.
Here are six ways to stay sporty, even without organized and professional sports as we normally know them.
READ about sports.
Athletes young and old, find a sports-related book and soak it up. Read about the history of the sport you love, and maybe new sports you don’t know much about yet.
Read about the day Michael Jordan met Phil Knight for the first time. Read about Lionel Messi overcoming obstacles to become one of the best in futbol of all time.
Coaches, get ahead, learn from the great coaches who came before you. Learn the pitfalls and the triumphs that leave behind a legacy, and maybe you can bring that into your coaching style when we ramp back up. There’s no time like downtime to become a better coach.
Even elementary school kids can enjoy picture books about sports, and don’t forget the great stats and record books that teach you random facts. Did you know Jackie Robinson’s older brother, Matthew, won a silver medal behind Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin?
If your tiny players need a creative outlet, they can enter the RoughRiders Whataburger Art Contest. Kids’ winning artwork might be the cover of a RoughRiders game program!
Go outside. Put on your old glove and have a catch with your baseball player. Talk. Remember standout games you’ve played in, you’ve been to together, or ballparks you want to get to together one day.
Juggle the soccer ball. Dribble, steal and shoot, throw the football with your player. They play because they like to play, period. And they like to play with you. I feel pretty proud of myself when I beat my 3rd grader in a game of P-I-G, but playing sports with our kids doesn’t require skill. It just requires putting your phone down, closing the computer, and letting yourself just play, sore muscles and all.
It’s not just my advice to go outside and play and encourage your kids to do the same. Josh Adams, Performance Manager at Children’s Health Andrews Institute Sports Performance powered by EXOS, says it’s important to maintain your level of conditioning and a positive outlook.
Sports are a big part of kids’ lives. Practice and play are great outlets for them not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally and socially. Staying active, while being mindful of safe social distancing, can help young athletes maintain their conditioning levels while keeping their mindset positive.
I’ll admit my household is going through withdrawals without sports on tv. FC Dallas is broadcasting their most memorable 25 games to celebrate this 25th season. You can catch Frisco RoughRiders action and highlights with MiLB’s free archives preview.
The Texas Legends are hosting virtual movie nights for season ticket holders (Netflix parties). And, it’s been nice to attend their virtual Pursuing Excellence Series meetings. Houston Nutt and Matt Doherty are just a few of the inspiring VIP guests the Legends have featured so far.
Nascar was the first to bring eSports to our tvs at home when they aired iRacing on March 22nd. Real drivers, simulated cars. It’s not for everyone but it’s competition, and sometimes that’s enough.
Your favorite pro players are probably still playing, just instead of the field or court, they’re in their houses improving their FIFA or 2K skills. Now might be the time to embrace eSports. Watch players play. It’s a legit thing, and it’s kind of a big deal.
This is also the time to let YouTube be your digital video library. There’s no shortage of highlight reels, top plays, and historical games to keep you busy and entertained. Take a trip back in time and watch the Dallas Cowboys win it all. Watch (and show your kids) Texas Legends’ own Spud Webb defy gravity.
LISTEN to sports.
Sports podcasts are inspiring. Get lost in the stories. Lifestyle Frisco’s sports podcast, Hustle & Pro, shares the stories of local athletes from high school to pro, coaches and more.
They’re the perfect length for a workout listen, or go ahead and have a family listen when your Hulu is down.
I love the limited episodes of Your Turn with Corby Davidson. (We need more like the Mark Cuban, Troy, Roger, and Michael Young episodes, Corby, please!) Search iTunes or Anchor for sports podcasts and you’ll plenty of other great options to keep you busy.
TRAIN for sports.
Don’t use YouTube to go back in time and have a little sports cry if you happen to cruise by a certain 2011 World Series game. Use it to get better.
Whatever sport you love and want to get better at, there’s a tutorial for that.
You don’t need equipment to stay sharp and work hard. You do need to remember, however, to add variety and maybe get creative, using what you have around your house. Josh Adams explains,
Athletes should strive to incorporate different types of exercises in their workouts. There are many exercises that can be done both indoors and outdoors at home without equipment. Try active stretches to help with mobility, or plyometric and movement skills. There are many bodyweight exercises that individuals can do, or they can use common household objects if more weight is desired. For example, athletes can do squats holding a heavy textbook, or arm lifts with filled water bottles.
Need daily at-home workout ideas for kids? Check out Children’s Health Sports Performance on Instagram.
There are some great coaches out there right now killing it with team workout challenges.
Frisco Fury coach, Beth King, is encouraging her lacrosse players to commit to training sessions, wall ball, stick handling work, and more every day to keep them engaged with each other and their skills.
Set some goals, reach for milestones and train hard. This is the time that decent athletes become great. This is the time to separate yourself from the rest and put in the hours of practice by yourself, for yourself.
LOVE sports for the long-haul.
Don’t let the universal stoppage in sports keep you from continuing to love sports. We’ll be back at the ballpark. We’ll get to witness a beautiful game at Toyota Stadium again. Basketball and hockey will have a fresh season start next time around. Football is coming.
We’ll schlep our chairs and sunscreen to the sidelines to watch our kids again. And, when we do, we’ll love it even more.