I was trying to find a sport for my daughter who is not super sporty. But in the day of the iPad, physical activity and teamwork are more important than ever. A young colleague suggested I think about getting her involved in track because she said it was the shorter girls who were the fastest. Perfect! So although my daughter continued to express her aversion to running (or sweating), I encouraged her to give the track club a try. Her school has various clubs so kids can experiment with different activities and sports to get a feel for what they like. I was set on track being her thing. (I love running and always wished I had joined the track team so clearly I am projecting some of my own stuff here.) She decided to appease me and agreed to give it a try and then we would talk.
Practice three mornings a week: 7:15 a.m. – this should have been the first signal that it would not end well.
Day One: Rain. (I thought practice was inside.)
Day Two: Drizzling and windy. (It was a struggle, but we do not give up.)
Day Three: Brutal. She conveniently forgot her running shoes and ran in her winter boots. (I did not learn of this until later by the way.)
Day Four: I get a call from the school’s athletic director just making sure my child likes the club because clubs should really be reflective of what interests the kid, not the parents. He said the kids run outside and they have to ensure each child’s safety. My kid was slowing down the group (hard to run in winter boots I guess) so one of the coaches had to stay with her until she caught up. I reiterated that I thought the clubs were a way to try things out and I wanted her to be someone who lived up to her commitments. He agreed she should stick it out if she was enjoying it (a bit of a stretch) so we both agreed to have her try it for a couple of weeks and check in again.
In the meantime, I called my friend who knows my daughter well and also has older kids to get her advice. She is not only sensible, but also a straight shooter so I knew she would guide me well. She agreed that most clubs at the school were trial and error, but this club functioned more like a formal team and the kids were really good and went to regionals. I choked on the lunch I was eating during our call…Regionals?! It all made sense. These kids were pros and ran like lightning. My girl was hoping to just try something out and was not expecting stiff competition from the beginning. It all made sense now. Because we did not want to negatively affect the team’s practice, fortunately for her, the struggle was over.
Morale of the story and in the words of Kenny Rogers: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run (but not in your winter boots).