Ah, sport. When they were handing out sporting gene code, I think my pregnant mum must have been caught up in the maternity section at a David Jones stocktake sale because she clearly didn’t collect any for me.
It’s not to say I don’t appreciate sport, it’s just that I wasn’t that kid. I was a nerdy bookworm. I was a Brownie and then a Girl Guide. I played (bad) flute. I liked to draw and craft. I just didn’t sport.
About the closest I came to being ‘sporty’ as a kid was being dragged across South-East Queensland for my little brother’s various baseball games errrrry weekend. What I can mainly remember from that era was fold-out chairs and boredom. About the best part of weekend baseball was when the odd wild pitch saw the batter hit a ?? with the baseball flying high up over the dugouts and the protective fencing only to land smack BANG on an car in the carpark. Ha! Touchdown! Oh, sorry, wrong sport.
So, when my own spawn came along, I was determined to give them a crack at whatever extra-curricular activities they wanted to have a stab at, with the hope that I might be able to breed some sporting prowess back into my family tree. Gymnastics turned out to be their thing in the early years, with the largest spawn reaching competitive WAG 4 level before her flat feet (literally) got in the way of any Comm Games dream she had. I won’t say I wasn’t disappointed about giving up 12 hours of training a week plus weekend comps. I could tell her little sister was starting to wish for ?? balls and dented car roofs.
What that era of my life taught me though was that, as parents, we need to give our kids every sporting chance to try things. To let them succeed. And also let them fail. There were many parents at those gymnastics comps who were quite obviously living their own sporting dreams through their jaded and frustrated children. We do live in a sports-obsessed society where our ‘celebrities’ are those guys who kick and catch balls well. Whatever your kids’ extra-curricular choice, if it’s not mostly fun (for everyone involved), forget it. Let them craft and play bad flute instead. They’ll still turn out OK.