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.