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Lisa Henley Jones shares how her children's participation in sports has strengthened family bonds.

People think I’m a bit crazy when they hear it’s a 50-mile round trip drive to my daughter’s soccer practice, and the “closest” games are 70 miles round trip. (Houston is huge, y’all.) Trust me, I used to think that families like ours were completely crazy as well. Never in a million years did I think I’d be the type of mom to drive my child to a city four hours away for a soccer training.

I didn’t grow up playing sports, but when my children were each young, we signed them up for soccer. My husband and I thought it was a good way to focus their energy and learn the basics of teamwork. It was so cute watching 4-year-olds try to remember which way to run on a soccer field and kick a ball at the same time. Spending Saturday mornings out on the fields with other families just became part of our family experience.

Some of my favorite memories include all of us running through a soccer park in a pouring rainstorm carrying all our gear back to the car, then sitting the car laughing with tears streaming down our faces as we realized how absolutely soaked we were -- and still an hour away from the house. Or the trips for ice cream to celebrate an awesome victory or in consolation after a tragic defeat. Or singing loudly to the radio on the long drives with the kids.

Those long car rides … they’ve turned into one of my favorite parts about soccer. My youngest and I have solved the problems of the universe, worked through a mother/daughter devotional, cried, sung loudly, laughed, prayed, and everything in between on the way to and from soccer practices. I feel as though that regular time together has brought us so much closer in understanding and appreciating each other as individuals.

Teenage male kicking soccer ball

As the kids have grown older, they’ve tried out a number of sports, sometimes several at one time. Our two youngest now play soccer both competitively on club teams and for their high school teams. Our Saturday mornings on the fields have turned into nights at the school stadium and driving across town on the weekends for more club games.

Over the last 16 years, I’ve learned a great deal about what playing sports means to our family. It’s a common togetherness that’s not just about playing the actual sport. Soccer provides us the opportunity to support one another, to learn about something new, and to give of our time for the other members of the family.

My husband and I joke that our date nights are all teen sporting events. But seriously, there is nothing better than time with my husband and kids watching them do something they love.

It's a common togetherness that’s not just about playing the actual sport. #catholicmom #thehousethatrobbuiltmovie

This article is part of a special Catholic Mom series on the new Family Theater Productions documentary, The House That Rob Built.

View the trailer:


About the film:

The inspiring story of Rob Selvig, pioneering coach of the University of Montana’s Lady Griz basketball team. In an era when gender discrimination in sports was the norm, Coach Selvig built a "house" of inclusion and empowerment by recruiting female athletes from the ranches, farms and Native reservations of Big Sky Country. For nearly 40 years, these athletes would establish the preeminent women’s basketball program west of the Rockies. (TheHouseThatRobBuiltMovie.com)




Copyright 2021 Lisa Henley Jones
Images: TheHouseThatRobBuiltMovie.com/Family Theater Productions, all rights reserved, used with permission; Canva Pro