This topic is a sore point for me.
Not as sore as I thought it would be, but it still bugs me…
My kids have zero interest in sports… in anything that requires competition, not counting who can annoy the other quicker. That, they are great at!
Take soccer, for example… For the past two years both Linus and Stewie have done SportBall soccer. Linus spent the better part of both seasons chewing on his soccer jersey and holding the hand of the female coach. If he wasn’t doing that, he could be found sitting on the grass picking weeds, while the other boys and girls chased the ball.
Stewie, on the other hand, loved being outside and running – he was the fastest and biggest of the 2 year olds last year – but when it came to playing… Well, he would watch a lot but never actually go to get the ball. Then you could see the expression on his face get more and more upset until he would start sobbing that he didn’t get to touch the ball. This approach has not changed… More on this later.
I have tried teaching them about the sport, practicing with them and telling them to go get the ball (it’s not going to come to you), but they have no interest whatsoever, other than getting into their uniforms and catching some rays.
I have actually become that dad that I hated when I was coaching ice hockey in my younger days, who yelled at their kid(s) to do something… anything. Now I yell at them to run, kick the ball, come back and play defense, stop playing with the weeds, grass, bugs, sand, plyon, shoes… Need I go on?
Linus ended his Sportball soccer career with his friend / neighbour passing the ball to him, then him passing it back and that boy scoring. It was the first pass he had ever made. Three years of SportBall, one pass, one assist. He’s done.
So after the soccer fiasco, we took the boys aside and asked them what sports they want to play. Hockey?!? Nope. Basketball?!? Nope. T-Ball… Yes!
So this spring, Linus “played” t-ball. In a league when at 5 1/2 he was one of the youngest and smallest, he managed to find a sport that he can tolerate… For about an hour.
He loves hitting – basically since the bat is heavy and him not that strong, he just slices it into the infield and runs, in a very goofy manner until he gets to the base. Once there all bets are off. He plays with the rocks on the baseball diamond, he picks grass and looks around at the world. Kind of what he does when playing defense. Only twice did he manage to stop the ball and throw out runners. Most of the time he’s too tired or wants to hold my hand. (I coached his t-ball team).
Besides these sports, both my boys do karate (our choice, not theirs), for discipline. This has not gone smoothly either… Essentially, for the last year and a half, Linus has been a lost cause. He’s in karate to learn to defend himself (not to KO his brother as he may think – which is why Stewie needed to be there too… To defend himself). The sensei came up to me the other week and said that she sees a ton of improvement in Linus and that “teaching him was so challenging that it helped me become a better sensei. It’s not that he is a problem-child, but he likes to talk to us and he makes us laugh. He’s very social, and doesn’t like to focus on the moves”. Really? I think that’s why he’s there!
Now he has a new sensei and we asked her to be very tough on him. He’s excelling but still gets very tired / bored during the class and looks completely disinterested.
So let’s fast-forward to the present. After getting the go-ahead from the boys, both kids are playing soccer in a local Toronto Soccer league. I am coaching both teams. Neither boy likes going to the games. They hate their cleats and detest the shin pads. They mope around the field in their cute uniforms, too tired to kick the ball, too disinterested to actually try, but plenty happy to rip out the grass and race 200 years to the water fountain.
Frankly, it’s killing me.
Not that I was a sports star as a kid, however. I was 250 pounds by the time I turned 13, but I carried my baseball glove and tennis ball everywhere I went. I used my hockey stick and net in the street in front of my house numerous time a week. I adored tennis balls, growing up.
I used to toss around a football, I LOVED tennis (still do, but don’t play that much) and rode my bike everywhere.
I never learned to skate, nor play ice hockey, but as an adult joined a ball hockey league and have played on and off for the better part of 19 years (the “off” part comes when we have children).
… Not so much.
The boys and I took skating lessons and they were a disaster. Neither boy liked it and after 5 or 6 lessons with them laying on the ice wailing, I got them to participate and try the sport after promising them cookies from Tim Horton’s after they had tried in the class. That worked, but they have no passion to learn to skate on their own. Linus has two friends who LOVE to skate and both now play hockey.
Sure, my little one loved being on the trampoline and asked me just yesterday if he would take gymnastics again. Said he loved the somersaults…
And my older boy… loves swimming and is getting much better at it, but it’s not a “sport”, right…
So it is with that, that I reach out to you, my readers for some insight or success stories to help me cheer up.
I really do want my kids to like sports and I want them to focus and play hard. While I do not want them to have a career in sports, I want them to have fun, learn to compete and want to play catch, or ride their bikes, work up a sweat…
At Linus’ soccer last night the league arranged for a roving instructor to come spend some time with the team and he said that Linus likes to play but has zero confidence and I need to teach him to be competative… I envision a plate of candy and him doing drills until he gets all the treats. Not that I would ever do that, but I’m running out of suggestions… HELP!