sports equal…writing contest winner

In November 2021, we kicked off a writing contest for parents who applied for the Every Kid Sports Pass. Parents were asked to share how sports have positively impacted their family, their kids and/or their community.  We received over 35 inspirational stories that amplify the power of sports, and we are pleased to share the winning entry below, submitted by Valisa Smith!  Valisa received a $250.00 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Every Kid Sports t-shirts for the entire family!  Thank you, Valisa, for sharing your story.

Why Sports are Important

My name is Min. Valisa Smith and my story is lengthy, but one well worth sharing as to why sports are important to me. I have been married for 31 years and for 25 of those years, my husband and I had been trying to have children. Disappointment after disappointment came our way. Being two inister’s, one thing we had was our faith. Faith in knowing one day it would happen, even entering into our 50’s.

In July 2017, I was a Children’s Choir Director and one day two little boys we didn’t know showed up at my choir rehearsal. At the time, one was 7 and the other 11. We found out they had a foster grandmother who had been praying for a mentor. My husband and I prayed about it and decided to help her. We kept them one weekend which turned into another then another. Through prayer we decided to become foster parents in May, 2018 and were able to get the boys into our home.

They both had ADHD and PTSD which caused them to be very energetic. My husband, being a former football player in college, decided to have them start running to release all of the built up energy. This is when we found out that the 11 year old had skills to run cross country and track. The youngest would always be so excited about football, so we signed him up with a league, as well as an AAU Track Team. Both of them excelled!

They had never had anyone to invest and believe in them that they could be and do whatever they wanted to in life especially through sports! Where they had a hard time making friends, through sports they both have made many friends. Where they had a hard time getting along with others, they now get along with all their peers. Where they had a hard time with phases of discipline, sports have helped them learn how to follow instructions and helped them truly see what being part of a team means. Sports have really helped develop them!

They are so proud of their achievements! Achievements which they now had an opportunity to fulfill!

On April 8, 2021 during the Covid, we adopted a now 15 and 11-year-old who plays football, runs cross country, AAU Track, 200, 400, 800 and 1600, and is a turbo javelin champ. They not only feel wanted and needed by the family but by their teammates! This is why sports are so important to all of my family’s life!