Team Beckett: Why Team Sports are Important for All Kids

At Keener Jerseys, we promote champions and players who play to win. Truthfully though, not all champions win trophies or score a lot of goals. Some players are champions just for showing up and doing their best – whatever their best may look like. We believe giving your best effort day after day is how champions are built, no matter how fast they can skate or how many goals they score.

Players like Beckett are champions. Beckett is a four-year-old boy with selective mutism and anxiety, so new surroundings and activities can feel overwhelming to him. However, Beckett loves hockey and joined a mini-league this winter despite his anxiety around new places and people. It’s a big, brave and bold step for Beckett to take, but his love of the sport outweighed his fear, and so, he went for it.

His first few times out on the ice were a challenge. Beckett’s dad, Brodie, explains that his son tends to freeze up when he’s out on the ice and doesn’t quite know who to turn to or what to do. While other kids continue skate around, laughing and playing, Beckett tends to hang back and get a little nervous. This is when his selective mutism kicks in, so if a grown-up on the ice reaches out to help, he’ll likely be met with silence.

What Brodie found frustrating was that often that’s when grown-ups on the ice would give up and shift their attention elsewhere, perhaps to a child who excels at the sport more naturally. However, what Beckett actually needs to succeed is an on-ice mentor who will work with him through the silence and build trust over time. Thankfully, Beckett’s mini-league team has one such coach who wasn’t discouraged by Beckett’s reserved silence and continued to reach out to help him. These kinds of coaches who are the true champions of sport.

Hockey and teams sports shouldn’t just be for the kids who are already above average athletes. Team activities can do so much to develop a kid’s confidence, leadership skills and sense of community during the formative years. Let’s show ALL KIDS that sport is inclusive, that hockey is for everyone, and that we all have a right to play.

When Beckett’s dad reached out to athletes, organizations and companies across Canada this past fall to send Beckett some encouraging words to stick with the sport despite the difficulty he sometimes experienced, we were thrilled to make Becket his very own customized Keener Jersey. Brodie sent us this photo of Beckett upon opening his one-of-a-kind KJ jersey, a photo of a true champion. Way to go, Beckett! Keep up the good work.

So as we collectively go out in the world and coach our kids teams, volunteer at their schools and community centres, let’s keep our eye out for all the little Beckett’s. They may not always know how to ask us for help but that certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t offer it.

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