Before your child was born, you had expectations, hopes, and dreams. You probably had visions of activities you would do together. Maybe, those visions were of computer games, cooking, tea parties, hikes, or trips to the theatre.
My vision was of sports. When my boys were born, I figured it was only a question of when we would be throwing the ball around, slapping hands over an athletic fete, and discussing the prospects for our favorite teams.
SJ came out of the womb big – 9’ 4” – with eyes closed and looking perfectly content. As he grew up, he displayed o.t. issues and had low muscle tone. He struggled with hand eye coordination.
His was not the body of an athlete.
Fine. He could still play little league. Not every kid is an all-star, and ability is not on the list of criterion for little league sports. At his age, the point is to enjoy the game, get exercise, and learn the good parts about sports.
But Ms. MMK and I never signed SJ up for little league – never considered it for more than a second. It’s not because I could not bear the thought of my son not being able to catch the ball, or shoot the basketball, or run fast with the ball, or skate smoothly.
The reason: He does not care about sports.
Not playing sports.
Not talking sports.
Not watching sports.
The only part of take me out to the ballgame he enjoys is the hot dogs and soda. SJ has no idea of the names of the local teams and would be hard pressed to name more than two players from the world of sports. The only time he’ll join in when other kids are playing sports is when he’s bored and wants to socialize (though he does enjoy roughhousing).
There was a time when his lack of interest in sports bothered me. What happened? He was supposed to love sports because I loved sports. How would we bond?
While I still would enjoy it if he would sit with me and watch a game, the bonding has taken place in other ways.
But what about exercise?
If nothing else, sports is good for exercise and keeping fit. SJ was content to play on his Kindle and watch tv.
Recently SJ took up bike riding. The flash, as he calls himself, is happy to go on his bike and ride around the block. It’s great exercise, gets him out of the house, and he loves it.
Yet, Ms. MMK and I wanted more for him. Something organized, something with an opportunity for socialization, something that can encourage him to practice.
This past week SJ took his first fencing lesson.
It’s not the sport I imagined my son getting involved in. But when the idea came up and Ms. MMK and I investigated the options, it became clear it was a perfect fit for SJ.
He’s crazy about all things Star Wars. He has a Star Wars school bag and binder. He’s constantly watching Lego Star Wars, reading Star Wars books, and playing with Star Wars themed toys. One of those toys – a LightSaber. He loves to do battle with his LightSaber.
Do you know what battling with a LightSaber is like – FENCING!
So, SJ donned a mask and a glove and selected a sword. He crouched down as instructed and began his first fencing lesson.
I don’t know if SJ will commit to fencing long term. I don’t know if he will ultimately love it. I don’t know if it will inspire him to get in better shape.
I do know that he is excited for fencing lessons. I do know that he now has a commitment to an athletic activity. I do know he will be around other children in an athletic setting.
And I do know that we found a sport that’s right for him.
Your story sounds very much like ours. Our son started fencing at age 8 for no other reason that he fancied a weapon similar to a light saber. Beyond that, he had no interest in sports. Fast forward 8 years. He’s still a big kid, not the fastest guy, but he has steadily progressed in fencing. He’s now in the elite program at his club and working hard to get rated. Fencing is not his entire life, but is a big part of it, and has helped define him. He is very proud to be a fencer and we are proud of him. It’s also the coolest sport to watch once they start getting goo, and it’s a dream for parents since you get to be indoors in a climate controlled environment (no bugs, hot stands or freezing, bleacher!) plus there’s usually coffee and wifi! All in all, good choice for your boy. Enjoy it!
Wow – the stories are nearly identical – well at least the beginning is. My son is also 8. His birthday is in 2 weeks and of course his party will have a Star Wars theme.
Anyway, I would love for SJ to have the same trajectory as your son in fencing. Thanks for sharing your story.
The 2032 Summer Games have yet to be awarded, but you better clear your summer. This is the way those great stories start.
Wouldn’t that be cool!
I love it! I think he will have fun, and kudos to you and Mrs. MMK for paying attention to what he needed in his life and not forcing him into activities! Mr. T had fun trying different sports, from football to wrestling, to Mascot and Cheer – and the ones that stuck with him are the ones that he had fun participating in! I can’t wait to see how SJ travels this journey!
Thanks for the positive response and support Kate.
It’s cool that Mr. T found what he likes, and I hope SJ will too.
I never would have thought of fencing! Caleb also hates sports but loves Star Wars. Good thinking!
So, sign him up. We can compare notes.
Very nice post. And I love the picture. 🙂
Thanks. He really enjoyed the lesson.