I know Thanksgiving is over now, but I would like to share one of many things that I am thankful for and that is my parents.

I could go on all day explaining why I am thankful for mom and dad, but one reason that stands out the most right now is just how involved they have always been in my life, especially while I was growing up playing sports.

I personally believe the more involved you are with your kids in their activities, the better off they will be. For me, knowing that my mom and dad were in the stands watching me perform always gave me an extra push to try harder. It didn’t matter what sport I was playing, more times than not, having them their pushed me harder to go out and score a goal or to create a big play.

In fact, if not for all of their sacrifices over the years, I never would have gotten half of the opportunities I did while growing up.

For so many years, both my mom and dad took time out of their day to go outside and kick the ball around with me. When it wasn’t soccer they were helping me with, it was baseball, hockey and BMX.

To this day, I remember when my parents would volunteer to let me shoot rubber pucks at them in the driveway because I wanted to work on my shot. Not only that, but in the backyard, my dad would spend hours crouched down playing catcher for me while I pitched baseballs to him.

Despite the amount of pain the ground caused his knees, he allowed me to keep pitching because he knew it was important to me. There were even times we were forced to go inside because it got too dark for either of us to see.

Even when it wasn’t time they were giving me, it was their money. Over the years, for so many weekends, my parents spent their hard-earned cash driving me across the state and sometimes even the country for different sporting events. That doesn’t even include all of the skills camps they sent me to or buying me new equipment from time to time. (For those of you that don’t know, new hockey equipment and BMX gear does not come cheap.)

Even though I have already named a few sacrifices my parents did for me as a kid, there were others … some that weren’t as fun.

As I got older, I remember being forced to stay after practice more than a few times because my dad wanted me to get in more reps. It didn’t matter what sport I was in at the time, for him, me staying late meant that I was only getting better.

Without that extra push, I never would have gotten all of the accolades I did, or even more importantly, I never would have learned what working hard can truly do for someone. Every day coaches across the world tell their players to work hard, but how many of those players actually put in the work? Because of my dad, I now have a better understanding of the term “work hard,” and because of that, I am forever grateful.

To this day, one of my all time favorite quotes is, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying in order to support your kids you must spend hours outside every day with them, or even buy them top of the line equipment.

What I am trying to say is that there are many different ways to support them, no matter what they enjoy. The easiest one can do based on my experience growing up would just be there for them.

Wesley Magagna is a sports writer at the Rocket Miner. He can be reached at sports@rocketminer.com.

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