Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jock Itch

It should surprise no one that I am not, umm, athletically gifted.  I'm a complete klutz -- and I'm not really exaggerating.  Oh, sure, I have really good body awareness and rhythm -- I did ballet for 15 years and figure skated and have a blue belt in Aikido -- but when it comes to sports involving balls, nets, racquets, goals, or bases I am useless.  I'm totally OK with that.

Scott isn't a natural athlete, either.  He admits to being fairly average when it comes to athletic prowess.  He's fine with that, too. 

Unfortunately, this has led to a deficit regarding athletic instruction and our children.  They don't know the rules for baseball, basketball or football.  They've never played Minnows and Sharks on a soccer field.  Milo has a baseball glove, but has never used it.  He steps with the wrong foot when he throws.  It just hasn't been a priority for either him nor us. 

Are we doing him a disservice?  Milo has never expressed any interest in learning athletic things, but I'm starting to feel like I need to give him a crash course in Catch to keep him from being the last kid on the bench.  This weekend he had a playdate with a preschool classmate, who stands a full head taller than Milo and probably outweighs him by 15 pounds.  And throws a football better than either Scott or me.  Definitely better than Milo, who was embarrassed and frustrated. 

As a kid, I had opportunities to participate in group athletics, and I did, though I greatly preferred my music and dance lessons.  I had more fun chatting with my teammates and cheering for them than I did actually playing the game.  I wasn't aggressive or physically competitive with the kids and my hand-eye-coordination was appalling.  I suffered through gym class the way other kids suffered through spelling. 

We have tried hard to model for our kids that there is not one be-all-end-all defining characteristic in people -- that just because you enjoy doing something it doesn't mean you can't enjoy doing something else, too.  You can like BOTH swimming and playing the guitar.  You can go skating AND like painting a room.  We do work at a liberal arts college and have always connected with the liberal artist's mindset -- that learning about everything in the world is better for your mind and spirit than just focusing in on one thing.

I'm pretty sure that we're raising a couple of nerds-in-training, but I guess I'm hoping that they won't be the last nerd chosen on the team.  With that in mind, I think I'm going to have to find my ball glove and teach the kids the very, very little I know about sports.  So they can soundly kick my butt in any game they take up.


Brianna said...

Would you like Doug and I to bring our baseball, soccer, frisbee, football, and basketball equipment to your picnic?

Simoney said...

Hey I'm impressed with your blue belt! And 15 years of gymnastics! And figure skating! Wowee. Good luck with the balls skills... I totally suck and I think my daughter is going to be as genetically challenged with hand-eye coordination as I am. poor thing. :(

parenting ad absurdum said...

I grew up with absolutely no athletic instruction (hippie parents who were anti-competition) - and am a complete klutz; while my husband is a born and bred athlete... we're exposing the kids to sports/music/karate/art - I'm interested to see who they take after!

Shelby Newport said...

I have this fear too! Mark and I will give our kid a paint set when all they really want is a football and we'll groan when we have to watch their games/matches (whatever you call them :))

I got sports in Middle School when it was "cool" to play tennis- but not before that and certainly not after....I think the kids will be just fine! Also, I've always thought it was a bonus to have a family that didn't crowd around the tv on holidays to watch football games!

thinking of you and the fam! xo

Patrish said...

My husband and I were somehow blessed with athletic talent and it is really one of our only strengths. But here's the kicker.....we've always been jealous of those who were well versed in creative arts and music. We hope our future children follow that pattern. = )

Wife on the Roller Coaster said...

I was an athlete all my life, and as a mother, I'm trying NOT to push my kids too much in sports. My son is playing baseball, and he is just terrible. But he's only 6, and I don't feel the need to push him. If he feels like having a catch with me after school, great, I'll do it! But if I offer and he declines, end of story. I truly believe it's best not to push and follow your child's lead. So what if Biff can play catch better than my son? Break out a game of Memory or Scrabble, and my son will kick Biff's butt! Everyone has their own skills and interests.

The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

I lOVE nerds.

My favorite sitcom is the Big Bang Theory. And I am not a TV person.

( I guess cause I am a nerd and would rather read a book)!!

I do know how to throw a softball though :)

IASoupMama said...

Wow -- thanks for all of the varying comments on this one! We're doing our best not to crowd the kids. Milo can and will take anyone down in Memory, Uno, or Connect Four. And Violet? She's got a bit of the performer in her, so she just may take after her mama and papa there... We'll see!!

WildThingsMom said...

Well, you know what goes on at my house but really I think all you can do (or all we can do as parents) is follow our child's lead. If Milo takes an interest in say....soccer, you could get a ball and just kick it around- no pressure! And really, there are lots of jocks (with itch) in this world. Milo, or Violet for that matter, don't have to be one.

(And you and Scott are awesome parents.)