What Happened When I Got Off My Unsporty Daughter’s Case for Three Months


It is no exaggeration to say that my teenage daughter hates sport and wants all sports to die in an enormous fire. I mean, this girl really hates sport.

I find this absolutely mystifying. A sporty kid myself, I have turned into an athletic adult. When I was at school I played netball, softball, volleyball, and was in the athletics and cross country squads. I played in rep teams, and pretty much every waking moment was spent doing sport, practising for sport, or thinking about the sport I was going to do tomorrow. Now that I’m in my forties, I don’t play sports any more, but I do run. And I enter the odd fun run just to keep things interesting.

So when I realised, at the age of 6, that this girl that sprung forth from my loins didn’t have an ounce of sportiness in her, I was baffled. I didn’t mind so much, really, as long as she continued to move her body in some way to maintain a healthy mind and body.

As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and depression, I see physical activity as being crucial to maintaining holistic health. And the last thing I want is to see my daughter slide into any kind of mental health problems that could be avoided with a bit of movement.

My daughter cruised through the next few years. She has shown herself to be a voracious reader, storyteller, responsible and caring citizen and musician. Wonderful! But when it comes to sport she is steadfast. She hates it.

She does attend a martial arts class once a week, but I’ve seen that class. From what I can tell it’s a whole lot of standing around biting nails, with a few bursts of throwing each other to the floor.

So we’ve battled over the years. Why doesn’t she try netball, I ask. What about volleyball? Badminton? Horse riding? ANYTHING?

But I’m always met with the same response, which is, “Get off my back, Mum, I’m not like you. I hate sport.”

I have begged, pleaded, reasoned, bargained, put my foot down, and everything in between, but I haven’t been able to make anything stick.

This year, when she started high school, I vowed to myself I would let it all lie. My daughter’s new school offers a mind blowing range of sports and activities to choose from, but what would be the use of me telling her to try them?

All I said was that I would like her to try one new thing each year – not limiting it to sports – just one new activity. Because as adults, wouldn’t we give anything to be offered such a great range of activities? It’s like Club Med down there!

But apart from that I left things and allowed my daughter to find her feet in her new school. Until yesterday when I got a text message from school in the middle of the day.

“Mum, is it okay if I join the fencing team?”

Wow, fencing? I did not see that coming. But whatever, she has chosen a sport without being poked and prodded into doing so. I had to wait a few minutes before responding so I didn’t come over super keen. But yes, she can do fencing. That is all right with me.



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Being a mum to 3 kids (one of them full time at home with me) and trying to juggle everything became pretty crazy.