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For parents with kids in club sports, it’s all about balance

Youth sports just isn’t the same. These days not only do you have recreational sports in your community, but you also have travel teams, year-round teams, and club sports. And if your kid wants to be on one of those select teams, in many instances for both parents and kids, sacrifices need to be made.

All week, we’re bringing you stories about youth sports culture, expectations and the pressures. We followed one club sports family in Snohomish to see what their routine is like and whether they think it’s worth it.

For the Norah’s, they are a sports family to the tee. We met them on a Sunday afternoon in Snohomish.

“This is just a normal Saturday or Sunday. Games or a practice, there is something going on,” said parent Mark Norah.”

Mark’s wife, Bridget echoed the same sentiment.

“It's definitely a symphony that we orchestrate every day,” she said.

Yet that symphony can sometimes sound like a cacophony.

"I think it's my second full-time job,” said Bridget.

Bridget says she'll spend two-to-four hours a day on sports-related activities. And then there are the weekends. Packing up the gear, heading to different parts of the region or even the country to take their kids to play in games or tournaments.

But as parents of two athletic boys, Cole and Parker, the Norah's decided that club sports were best for them.

“It instills drive, it instills discipline, it instills work ethic. It instills everything you need to be successful as a person,” said Bridget.

Bridget played on a select soccer team starting in the sixth grade.  She loved it because it was competitive and there were goals that she could meet and exceed, Bridget said.

“You're playing with kids that they`re not the top kid in their sport. They may be. But they have to go prove it now,” said Mark.

Both Mark and Bridget say the decision to play club sports was made by their boys, on their own. It didn't come without sacrifices though. One of them being cost.

“You're looking at couple thousand (dollars) a player. Some could be $3,500 and $4,000,” said coach Steve Murawski.

That cost often doesn’t include sports equipment.

“It's something that we've had to save for,” said Bridget. “And they`ve had to do extra chores on the weekends to buy different bats or gloves or different cleats.”

For Mark, he says the advantage of club sports is that you meet so many different people. That goes for both the parents and kids.

“You can broaden your team, increase the skill set. Get kids meeting other kids from other schools and other districts,” said Murawski.

For Parker, playing club baseball is the right competition level for him. But it's those relationships that are invaluable to him too.

"I just feel like in rec sports I wouldn`t be as close to these guys. I'm with them from October to middle of July,” said Parker.

Being club sports parent is all about balance. A balance of time, cost, work and of course their kids' school work too.

“We put a lot of expectations on the kids about their grades and they held up their end of the bargain,” said Mark.

Then there’s the balance with the kids playing different sports. Which is key the Norah’s said for preventing serious injuries.

“Because we don't want it to be 12 months of baseball. We still want that opportunity to play other sports,” said Murawski.

The Norah's say the lessons learned through club sports will help their kids in the long run, whether they play sports or not.

“Is it worth it? It is worth it because it's given them opportunities,” said Bridget