I have never been athletic; even tae bo had too many movements at once for me. Somehow, I had hoped that it would be different for my kids; that they would be able to jab, jab, kick without looking like they were fighting off an unseen spiderweb.
My family tree is chock full of writers, educators, nurses; in other words – creative, helpful types. I cannot bring to mind a single one that ever played a sport. My mother likes to tell the story of how my father played left field in her company’s softball game. He’d stand out there, chain smoking and drinking beer. When a ball would head his way, he’d put down the beer can, and, cigarette dangling from his lip, would casually stroll out to catch the ball. Not exactly All Star material.
My husband played football and ran track, so I had high hopes the kids would take after him. Unfortunately, they are like him; tall, skinny and wired for engineering.
Nonetheless, I pushed them, I mean pushed ahead, and signed them up for anything that seemed remotely interesting to them. It did not go well.
Soccer: The boy picked at the grass, and when I shouted at him to get the lead out and chase the damn ball (I mean, I encouraged him vociferously), he would run the length of the field and then declare he was too tired to take another step. His highness would then flop down in one of the lawn chairs we had hauled out to the middle of a muddy soccer field to watch his farce of a game, and he would refuse to get up. I begged, pleaded and bribed him to get out on the field. Sighing, he would drag himself out onto the field and the cycle of grass pulling and flopping would begin again.
The only upside is that there were no weeds on the field when that kid was done with the season. They organizers could have paid us. At least our time would have been worthwhile.
Baseball: See soccer and replace, “picked at the grass” with “made dirt mounds as the shortstop.” Throw in a little bit of chasing my daughter and missing everything but the dirt mounds, and you’ll get an idea of what baseball season was like.
Ballet: My wee little princess wanted to dance, and her bestest friend in the whole wide world was taking a creative movement class. Creative movement is for younger kids and pretty much consists of prancing around a room in expensive leotards while wearing expensive pink ballet slippers, followed by even more expensive tap shoes.
The first couple of lessons were ideal; she threw on her leotard and skipped out of the house. I thought, “O! I have finally found her ‘thing.'” Then, I was invited, along with the other parents, into the studio for observation day. What I observed is my daughter, running around in circles, stopping to hug me, hug her best friend, hug anyone that looked like a grandmother and generally screwing around. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and thought she was just acting out because I was there. No. As the lessons progressed, I could hear the teacher instructing her to pay attention, stop touching other people and to please pipe down!
When the session ended, my daughter’s friend was asked to continue on to formal ballet classes because she had, “Natural dance ability.” My prima ballerina was told that she, “should probably take some time off,” and, “some children aren’t ready as quickly as other children are.” In other words, my kid was being put in the corner with the dunce cap. I knew ballet wasn’t for her, but still. I was really offended. That’s my baby! I decided not to say anything rude, mostly because my kids already say things they shouldn’t after hearing them come out of my mouth, but I thought very rude thoughts. Repeatedly.
My son asked to play basketball. I worried it would be a repeat of soccer and baseball, but at least on the hardwood floor he wouldn’t be able to pluck or create anything. He has very little hand-eye coordination, and I catch him twirling his hair instead of playing sometimes, but he likes it. He at least goes after the ball and will run without turning into a limp noodle. That’s a victory in my book.
My daughter decided to try ballet again with another dance studio and she seems to enjoy it. She still doesn’t display, “Natural dance ability,” but I’m ok with that. Have you seen Black Swan? That girl was crazy. So, suck it stupid other ballet teacher. My little swan is awesome.