Athletic Explorations

Both the girls have been pondering their various athletic options lately.

First, M. Of course soccer is her A-Number 1, always-favorite sport. But then there were try-outs for a special regional team for her club. When I told her about the try-outs and explained that the team would bring together girls from Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, & Canada, and so the try-outs were almost four hours away, the answer was clear: no thanks. The girl does not like long drives. She’ll tolerate them if there’s a beach or a boatload of relatives at the end, but just to play more soccer? No thanks. And I was relieved. The regional team would’ve meant more travel and time and money, and. . . no thanks. I was right there with her. Then her new club coach emailed, encouraging her to try out, saying that she’d have a really good chance. Well, that made it tougher. It is nice to be recognized. Plus, I just think it’s cool that they offer the opportunity, and of course the best of the regional girls play on a national club and wouldn’t that be cool, but . . . . no thanks. After hemming and hawing for a couple of days, M decided against it. And this time I’ll admit it: I was a smidgen disappointed. But also relieved.

Meanwhile, one factor that played into M’s decision on the try-outs was her surprise choice to do indoor track as a winter school sport. I did not anticipate that one. It’s funny, because back in middle school we tried to get her to do track. She’s such a fast runner without ever practicing, I couldn’t help thinking about how fast she could be if she actually, you know, practiced. Cute W had the opposite perspective: he thought that she was not always so great at sprinting during soccer games and that track could help. We mentioned all of these things more than once, and M’s response was. . . no thanks. This year, though, she’s decided to do indoor track “for fun.” Which I put into quotes because it is a direct quote but also because the whole idea of running “for fun” is foreign to me. Anyway, M has a few friends on the team, the coach needed more players, and it’s a short season. In this short interim between the school soccer season and club soccer season, she’s been itching to work out more. So I’m pretty psyched. With Unified Basketball in the spring, this means she’s got a school sport every season, which seems pretty super-awesome to me. When she said she was signing up for track the next question from Cute W was, “Are you going to be a distance runner or a sprinter?” He was all excited: “Sprinter?” he asked eagerly. Finally, after years of wishing, this girl might hone her sprinting skills! “Nah,” she said, “Distance.” Cute W took it with the poker face of an experienced dad. Then, after her first practice, M reported that the coach was trying to convince her and another friend to be sprinters, because they really needed sprinters. I was careful not to make eye contact with Cute W, just in case we’d accidentally look too excited. But we’re crossing our fingers.

Whatever she runs, he’ll still love her. (It’s an old picture now, but still one of my favorites.)

On to J!

She is very excited about starting club volleyball with Northeast Thunder, but those practices don’t begin until December, and this girl’s antsy. She used to doing a lot of physical activity.

One new thing she tried was diving, with Full Out Dive Club. I happened to talk to the coach there, Jeremy, because of KidsOutAndAbout, and when I mentioned that my former-gymnast daughter might want to try diving, he was super-enthusiastic. Then I said we’d wait until the end of volleyball season, which was the end of October, and he followed up by emailing me on November 1st. I had mentioned diving to J before because the gymnastics skills seem pretty transferable, and she’d always seemed a little “meh” about it. But when I mentioned that the coach had emailed, she decided to give it a try. She tried a 90-minute practice on Saturday, and she really enjoyed the conditioning (!!! I know! That is a wacky gymnast thing to say) and didn’t love the basic-dive practice, but then she liked when it got more challenging and flippy. Meanwhile I chatted with a mom whose daughter had also recently quit gymnastics and was loving the more-relaxed-but-still-challenging vibe with diving.

Before she makes a final decision about diving, though, there’s gymnastics to think about. A few weeks ago J said that she’d like to try a gymnastics class, just because she loves it and still misses it. She’s happy with her decision to quit the team, because it’s offered her the chance to do other things, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love gymnastics anymore. We’d signed her up for an advanced class two times a week, and she went to that class for the first time yesterday. She was glad that she hadn’t lost all of her skills, and some of it was challenging, but some of it just wasn’t that challenging, and there wasn’t that same team camaraderie. To make that worse, her old team was practicing at the gym while she was there, so it just emphasized how different the experience was. So, I’m not sure how that’s going to shake out. She’s going to go to her second class tomorrow, then decide whether/how much diving or gymnastics that she wants to do. And once we settle on that, we’ll have to coordinate it with volleyball.

So we’re still not quite settled into a routine, but I’m super-impressed and proud of how J’s trying brand-new things.


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