“Max, wake up, it’s time for swim lessons!” I said.
“No, not today, I don’t want to go! Please don’t make me go!” He replied.
We have enrolled Max in gymnastics, soccer, t-ball, and swimming. He hates them all equally. During soccer practice, he raced toward us instead of running toward the goal; during t-ball, he refused to run the bases and instead ran in the opposite direction and proceeded to do summersaults. Week after week, he cried, and claimed to need a 15-minute bathroom break, during his 45-minute swim lessons.
At times I’ve sheepishly looked at the parents of the class “superstars” and wanted to tell them, “He’s not like this at home! He usually runs really fast (through the house); he loves tumbling (on my nicely made bed); he is a world-class swimmer (in the bathtub). See, he has potential!” But those things don’t count do they.
During one particularly disappointing class, as Max was acting out, Kwabs turned to me and asked, “Is our kid, That Kid?” You know, the kid who may shine in the classroom but on the field is a complete misfit.
Kwabs excelled in cross-country in school. He is still relatively athletic and likes to race; he has run two marathons and countless half-marathons. Before we had children, he proclaimed he wanted his kids to play wind-instruments so their lungs would be ideal for long-distance running. He was convinced we would create world class athletes, he would coach them, and together, we’d cheer them on from the stands.
We’ve invested lots of money on Max’s extracurricular activities and have wondered aloud if we are wasting it. We never imagined Max would be uninterested in sports and instead prefer to stay home and perfect his favorite activity…watching cartoons. Blanket: check. Remote control: check. Snacks: check.
We will continue enrolling him in classes in an attempt to spark his interest. After all, there are many great reasons for him to play sports besides the obvious, superficial ones. It is important that he be well-rounded: we want him to excel in academics, sports, and the arts. Athletics are a great way for him to learn good sportsmanship and the value of team-work. We also want to foster a healthy dose of competition; we want him to strive to win and understand that everyone loses sometimes-and that’s okay too.
Ice-skating lessons start this weekend; I have dreams of him being a great hockey player. Nonetheless, I’m concerned that he won’t like ice-skating either. I took him to see Disney on Ice last weekend and his first question was, “I’m not going to have to get on the ice, am I?”
As Max matures, he will let us know what he really enjoys doing, and if it’s not sports that’s fine. We will find other ways to instill the traits that are typically associated with sports. After all That Kid is our kid and as long as he’s happy, we’re happy.
Do you think organized sports are an important part of childhood? Why?