Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What the what have I done? (I encouraged a sport)

Last week, a mom friend from the kids' elementary school texted me about field hockey tryouts at the middle school that both N and her daughter will be attending.  N was at Girl Scout camp, so I contacted the coach to see if she could tryout this week.  


One of my former (and now current) colleagues, who is also a friend and mom of 3 girls, had suggested getting involved in field hockey as a way for N to meet some girls and get more comfortable with middle school.  So I had talked to N about it as a possibility way back when she applied to this school.

Field hockey is not a sport played around these parts in elementary school, so pretty much every kid who comes into middle school has zero or very limited experience.  As it happens, this 6th grade team doesn't cut girls; basically, if you want to play, they will teach you.  


When I was in 4th grade, I tried out for basketball at my elementary school.  I'm sure I wasn't good, but I tried out anyway because I wanted to play.  They ended up having an "A" team, a "B" team and a "C" team.  I didn't even make the "C" team.  Even as an ignorant and immature 4th grader, it seemed to me that if you are going to rank the teams, why not just let all the idiots like me be on the "C" team to at least learn the game and practice.  This singular event turned me completely off from competitive sports and hate jocks.  Maybe there were non-competitive girls basketball leagues way back in 1982, but I didn't investigate nor did my parents.  My identity as an athletic person was destroyed at least until I got older. (I'm taking a graduate adolescent psychology class right now and feel like I have come full circle.)


Given the aforementioned ancient history, I wanted N to "tryout" for field hockey.  If she went the first night and hated it, I certainly wouldn't make her play.  It wouldn't bother me one iota to not schlep her to practices and buy equipment and go to games.  
But I figured this could be a win-win for her:

Meet girls=CHECK
Learn the game=CHECK
Don't have self-esteem destroyed=CHECK
Get exercise=CHECK
Possibly have fun=CHECK


Mine and D's personalities can be understood pretty well in the following photographs:

These are from my senior yearbook.  I was the girl who was involved in high school from the get-go.  Was voted "Most Leadership" by my peers in the Senior Superlatives.

This is from D's senior yearbook:

His name.

I wanted to be involved and was probably OVER-involved.  
D didn't want to be involved and was probably UNDER-involved.  
To this day, I am the one who gets over-extended with activities, and he is the one who has to be forced by threat of death to do anything beyond the scope of work.  


M....he begins full-time school next month, so his interest in sports and other extracurricular activities remains to be seen.  

G seems to be like D---he has zero interest in doing clubs, teams, sports.  He wants to be left alone.  He is only in 2nd grade so I haven't nudged him out of his comfort zone.  Yet. 

N has shown interest in things and asked often in elementary to try sports.  She mentioned volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country.  I let her do track because it didn't interfere too much with my life, and it met all the other qualifications:  

Meet friends=CHECK
Learn the game=CHECK
Don't have self-esteem destroyed=CHECK
Get exercise=CHECK
Possibly have fun=CHECK

In elementary school the most important thing was that it not interfere too much with my life.  My brief introduction to middle school sports, just based on the tome of notarized documents needed to even tryout, suggests that the older a kid gets, the more his/her involvement will interfere with my life.  I have to be prepared to change.  

D was concerned that N felt pressured by me to try out for field hockey, which made me worry.  I don't CARE whether she does it, but I also don't want her to shut the idea down without giving it a chance, without trying.  If you try, and it sucks, don't do it again.  But at least try.

Especially since we don't know if track is a no cut sport.  I hate for her to shut down this opportunity and then be cut from track (if she opts to do that in the spring).    D worries that N is like him and will go along with things even if she doesn't want to just to avoid conflict.  

And the whole time, including this whole bloggy post, I keep thinking, "All this internal rigamarole over field hockey."  But it isn't an isolated situation.  In parenting N (and G and M), D and I are pulling in our personalities, our failures, our successes, every experience and what we know to be true for ourselves.

But our kids aren't ourselves.  They are them.  

It is sometimes hard to remember that.  

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