Do you encourage your players to play multiple sports?
If you do, is there an age where you think they should stop playing multiple sports?
In today’s chapter from my new book, Trouble in Discovery: Remington Rises Up, we shift attention to the relationship between Remington and Jenny, his best friend since moving to Montana in 5th grade.
In a flashback to the first day they meet, we see him learn that she is a soccer player. He tells her he plays both soccer and basketball and that each sport has helped the other. He encourages her to play basketball to help with her soccer.
As a coach, it is important that we understand the value of kids playing multiple sports. Then, we need to encourage them to do so. Not only will it help them in their other sports, but it is also their lives not ours. We need to let them live their lives the way they want to live them, not the way we want them to live them.
You will also see Remington and Jenny start to advance their relationship into a new realm beginning in this chapter. While I would have loved to have kept this kind of element out of these books and just focused on the sports and the lessons involved in them, the reality is that kids develop these types of relationships with others during their teenage years. It would have probably been more foolish of me not to have this kind of relationship happen in these stories.
Besides, there are a lot of great teaching and learning moments in this aspect of the young people’s lives in the stories and those who will be reading them. While I am not as comfortable writing about these types of things as I am the athletics, the coaching, and the lessons from both, it is an important aspect of a young person’s life that needs to be addressed if we want to help kids navigate those situations as they occur in their lives.
Jenny Jones had been Remington’s best friend since 5th grade when his family moved to Discovery. They lived just around the block from one another, and their bond was almost instant. While most boys that age want nothing to do with girls, Remington didn’t think that way. He had a big sister of his own, and girls were just other people to have as friends.
Not long after he moved to Discovery, he met Jenny when he went to play basketball at a park he had found in their neighborhood. She was with a couple of friends who were swinging on the swings. As he walked onto the court with his basketball under his arm, Remington said, “Hi,” in the direction of all of them. Jenny was the only one to return a “Hi” to Remington. A few minutes later when a he missed a shot, Remington’s basketball rolled near Jenny. Before he could get to it, she picked it up and tossed it to him. He said, “Thanks.”
She said, “You’re welcome.”
He asked her what her name was, and pretty soon they were in a conversation about who they each were, where he was from, and where they lived. He invited her to join him shooting baskets while they talked, and she did so. While they were shooting, she told him she was a soccer player, not a basketball player.
Remington said, “Why not play both? I do. I used to only play basketball, but this year I started playing both. Each one helps me play the other better.”
“Really?” said Jenny. “How could soccer help you with basketball? You can’t use your hands in soccer.”
Remington said, “Yeah, but all the footwork and running and playing with your eyes up while dribbling and passing in soccer helps with those same things in basketball. My PE teacher down in Phoenix and my dad both told me that. He’s a basketball coach, and he was right. I’m better at both sports now.”
Jenny said, “I guess that makes sense.”
Remington said, “Yeah, I think so.” He paused and said, “I plan on coming down here most days around this time to work on my game. If you want to join me, I’ll show you some things to help you play basketball.”
Jenny said, “That would be nice. Thanks.”
And that was it. They started meeting at the park most days that summer. While Remington would have rather shot alone and gotten a good workout in, he liked Jenny’s company. He also liked helping her play, and she was athletic enough that she started getting good at basketball pretty quickly. He started going to the court about a half-hour early, so he could get some of his own dribbling and shooting workouts in first.
She liked Remington. He was a nice boy who was easy to talk to. Most boys didn’t talk to her very much, but Remington was different. The more time they spent together, the closer their friendship grew, and as they continued to grow up through the years, their relationship got even stronger.
Last year, during their junior year, they were both feeling things about each other that they had not ever felt before. Finally, at the start of the summer, after he had gotten a letter from Coach K at Duke, Remington asked Jenny out to the movies as a way to celebrate. As he was asking her to go to the movie, he realized he was asking her out on a date. He had wanted to do that for some time, and when he finally did, they both talked about how much both of them had been wanting that for quite a while. They were each stunned to learn that the other had developed stronger feelings for the other one. “Really?” Jenny had said. “You mean you’ve liked me that way all year?”
Remington responded, “Well, I don’t know exactly when I started feeling this way, but I know last summer when I was away at my basketball camps, I was missing you a lot and thinking about you that way.”
Jenny said, “That’s so wild. I started feeling the same way about you while you were gone during the summer.”
They laughed and got excited about going on their first date together. They settled on the new Avengers movie that was out at the time. They had a nice time at the movies, and afterward they went to Romano’s for pizza. When Remington drove her home, he walked her to her front door. Neither of them wanted the night to end, as they were having such a great time with each other. They both said that while they always had a good time together, this newfound realization that they were each attracted to each other as more than just friends added a whole new element to the fun they were having. (The change between those two sentences above was spaced improperly.)
Remington repeated an idea the two of them had discussed earlier in the day when he asked her out. “Too bad we didn’t know sooner that we both felt like this, huh?”
But Jenny said, “No, it’s probably for the better, Rem. Who knows if our relationship was different what it might have done to your season? I mean, you guys made it to state, and you made All-State, and you’ve got all those colleges interested in you. If we were dating, you might not have been as focused, and it might have affected your play.”
Remington couldn’t believe how cool Jenny was. Here they were on her front porch expressing to one another that they liked each other as more than just friends, but her first thought was how that could have negatively affected his basketball. She knew how important basketball was to him, and she didn’t want to do anything that would get in the way of it.
Remington said, “Maybe. But I also know that with how strong our relationship already is, I don’t think it would have been that much different. I think I would have handled it just fine.” He smiled at her and then said, “I’m ready to see now how it affects me. I hope you are, too.”
She looked up at him and smiled. He reached his hand up and brushed a few strands of her long brown hair away from her cheek. He smiled and said, “I just wanted to see your whole face.” Before he knew it, his hands slid down, and he was holding her around her waist. She lifted her hands and placed them on his shoulders. He leaned down and kissed her for the very first time. It felt incredible.
While he had kissed a few girls that he had gone out on dates with through his high school years, he was just not all that into girls. He always said, “Basketball is my girlfriend.” He even had a t-shirt with that printed on it. And while some guys said that kind of thing, Remington lived it. So he had not ever developed a lasting relationship with any of those girls. But he had always had a relationship with Jenny, and he loved it. He loved how they were when they were together. She was so much fun, and she always made him feel good. And now with his lips on hers, she was making him feel good in a whole new way.
Jenny was feeling the same way as Remington. As they were kissing, she couldn’t help but feel, “I’ve been thinking of this for a long time, and it’s finally happening.” She loved the feel of his lips on hers. She was at first a little shocked when it happened, but the shock quickly became a desire for more. She loved what she was feeling right now.
While she didn’t want it to end, she also didn’t want it to go any further than this. After a few seconds of kissing like this, she pulled her mouth off of his, looked into his blue eyes, and said, “That was nice.”
Remington smiled and said, “I know. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”
She smiled and said, “Me, too.” She paused and said, “But Rem, I want to take things slowly, okay. This is kind of new territory for me.” While she, too, had dates with some boys through the last couple of years, she could tell right away that those boys were after one thing, and it wasn’t a steady relationship. She wasn’t into that, so she quickly ended those evenings, so they didn’t progress far at all.
While her feelings for Remington were much different than what she felt for any of those other boys, she also wanted to be smart and take things slowly. She didn’t want to jump into doing things that she might end up regretting later. They had both talked about how much they loved each other as friends and how they didn’t want to ruin that.
But when relationships start to add a physically intimate component to them, the relationship can suffer. Neither of them wanted that, and when Jenny told Remington she wanted to take things slowly, he responded, “Okay. Me, too.”
Jenny said, “Thanks for understanding, Rem. Besides, it just gives us more to look forward to down the road, huh?”
He said, “Absolutely,” and smiled. He then said, “All right, I’ve got to get home. Can I see you tomorrow?”
She said, “Sure. I’d love that.”
He smiled an even bigger smile, leaned down, and gave her another kiss. Neither of them wanted to let go of the other’s lips, but this time Remington pulled away and said, “Okay, I better go right now, or we’re going to take what we just said and throw it out the window!”
Jenny said, “You’re right. Thanks, Rem. I had a great time tonight.”
Remington said, “Me too, Jen.” He took his hands off of her waist as she pulled hers from around his neck. He turned away, started down her porch steps, and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Can’t wait,” said Jenny.
Ideas to Consider
- What does Remington tell Jenny about playing both soccer and basketball? Do you play or coach multiple sports? Do you find one helping you in the other?
- As they start to get intimate, both of them feel it is best not to move too quickly. Why is this a smart thing to do for them (and for any teenage couple)?