My kid is a good sport.
My son, god bless him, has been graced with superior physical gifts. These I attribute more to his mother's side of the family than to mine. Yes, they grow 'em big on my side of the family, but it takes a good mixture of physical prowess, desire, and cognitive ability to be a better than average athlete. Those of you who saw me nearly lose a leg trying to jet ski know that is not one of my gifts. I am a big boy, but clumsier than all get out.
My son is big for his age. He is 5'1" and 115.5 lbs as of this morning. He is also 10 years old.
When they boy was born, our first, my pride and ego swelled. A boy....oh the places you will go. Like 90% of all dads out there I immediately began crafting his future. I saw him a mix between Roger Clemons and Bill Gates. (hey I AM a geek after all) Not too lofty of goals eh?
As soon as he was able to figure out that whole hand and finger deal, I put a ball in his hand. By 4 he was playing T-ball with the YMCA. The boy has lived and breathed baseball since. The great part of this is he actually LOVES it. He watches games with the old man, he knows stats and he is ravenous to learn baseball history. All of his school book reports have revolved around sports. He has a fantastic positive attitude, and is a good teammate.
Baseball has come pretty easy for him until the last 2 years or so. I attribute this to the rapidity of his growth. He has a tough time doing things QUICKLY, but he always does it right. So, this season he has had some trouble making a travel team. His previous team was ~20min away from us, and a little out of our network of friends. My suspicion is the team's coach had someone else in mind for my son's position (1st). Regardless, we found ourselves trying out for some other teams and we haven't found a spot for him for a variety of reasons. I'm still waiting on the last team to give me a call this weekend.
This post started in a different direction, but I'm going to keep going and see if I get where I need to be.
Flashback to June, baseball has finished and we decide to let P play football in the fall. He had been asking for awhile and I finally gave in. I warned him that the practices would be intense compared to baseball, and he would most likely be put on the line for his size.
He was undaunted, and true to his word he has yet to complain about the heat, the aches, the tedium of learning a new sport, or playing less than glamorous positions in the trenches. And dammit if the kid isn't good.
The coaches have so far gushed over his ability to pick up his positions and made him the teams snapper from game 1. I watched the team play a scrimmage against 6th graders on Wednesday and they held their own.
I've gone through the seasons as my son has played and I've tried to keep as much levity in tact as I can. In fact I'm not misguided enough to think he has a better than average chance to be a collegiate or professional athlete. I do think I have the duty as a parent and father to allow him every opportunity though. I plan on being as supportive as I can until I'm told to stop. There's only one person who can tell me that, he holds the cards.
I read a few articles in the past few days that have made me stew over the subject of children in sports. I remember reading the tale of Jericho Scott last summer and the subsequent hand wringing involved in the possibility that a child could be blackballed for being 'too good'. In my mind it was further proof of the dumbing down of American society. It ties into every thing that is wrong with today and our 'everyone has to win' outlook.
I appreciated Craig Fehrman's followup on Deadspin on Tuesday. His angle makes a lot more sense. The attributes the heightened anxiety and idea of unfairness that is derived form some parent's expectations of ( or deluded view of) their child's talent.
It is exactly these expectations that I do not want to foist on my child. It has to be his drive, his determination, and his ability to see him through to where he wants to go. I'm here for guidance, understanding, and support. (and a big fat house to retire into. ;)
Read Bob Cook's 'Your kid is not going pro' if you liked this, or even if you didn't.
Take it easy out there kids, have a good weekend.