Friday, April 10, 2015

When The Boy Doesn't Like Sports

We're in the midst of signing up for summer camps, which seems crazy as it's 45 degrees and raining right now. We've already been mailed the long list of camps offered through school, the various programs through the town and a flyer full of camps from the science museum. Aiden has flipped through each one and picked out his favorites. The very predictable results: art camp, chemistry camp, insects and bugs camp. No lacrosse, no baseball, no football or soccer.

When Aiden was a baby he was incredibly mobile from an early age, able to pull himself around at three months and standing at six months. He would jog around the playground at fourteen months, past other babies his age crawling and toddling those giant, wobbly footsteps while Aiden was solid on his feet. He could run a full mile at age two and knocked the target off the gym wall with his pitch during kindergarten orientation.

We knew that he was going to excel at sports. We're well aware of the statistics on how few kids get athletic scholarships let alone the miniscule percentage that go on to become professionals, but what parent hasn't wondered or hoped when they see their child rocket a baseball across the yard or outstrip their classmates in a running race?

There are so many amazing things about Aiden from his creativity to his sense of justice and his mind for science but we felt like he "needed" a sport to be well-rounded. Even the pediatrician would ask him "What's your sport? You must have a sport!" when we visited. I mean, he's only seven! Baseball, tennis and skiing were a huge part of Sean's childhood and he started making even more of an effort to get out the skis or the baseball glove or to take him to the tennis courts and it just didn't make a difference. When he's outside Aiden wants to catch grasshoppers or examine the bark on a tree or draw intricate scenes with chalk.

He's still so young and maybe one day he'll decided to pick up a baseball, or maybe not. It's not a lack of sports that leaves me with that quiet, nagging feeling so much as it is the idea that there is something he could truly excel at but he has no interest in pursuing. As parents we want our kids to be the best they can be and we want them to live up to their potential. We try and carefully lay a path to show them where to go and it can be frustrating when they decide to veer off in their own direction. We try so hard to instill confidence in him, to have him trust his own instincts, and I've learned that achieving this means I need to trust him too. Out with sports. In with magnifying glasses and nature encyclopedias. Let's do this.

So we've gone ahead and signed him up for science camp and art camp and that insect camp he begged to join.  Sean will let him carefully collect up all the worms he finds in the soil out back this weekend. I'll draw a huge mural of New York City with him on the front walk when it finally warms up. We'll still ask if he wants to go to the tennis courts but we won't push it if he doesn't. He knows what he's doing.


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