Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Field day + sports aversion

A week or so ago my kids' school program held their annual Field Day.  (Yosef was amazing at this event by the way.  Some majorly superhuman strength going on there.)

My kids were so, SO excited.  They bounded out of bed in the morning, and spent some time "practicing racing" in the backyard.  Heehee!

The day itself was great.  I thought the parents who put it together did a great job keeping things moving and organized.  (Check out Anna kicking the soccer ball!)

But oh, was I exhausted. 

Running back and forth between the Kindergarten and First Grade classes, trying not to miss my kids in their events, with a three-year-old and baby in tow, was HARD!  I was so tired!  (Biniam was so excited to start the day.)

But it was worth it.  They loved it.

I have to confess that we have not entered the "sports phase" yet with our children.  None of them, not one, has ever played an organized sport.  Sometimes I feel a little guilty, but mostly I just feel happy when Saturday rolls around and it's a free day to do what we want.  :)  (Kaitlyn loved watching her older sister and brothers!)

When I was growing up, I played t-ball for one season, and that was it.  I didn't do sports.  I'm horribly unathletic and never really felt like I was missing out.  I had other interests I suppose--really exciting stuff like reading, and writing poems.  :)

In junior high, I was involved in student council and choir, and 4-H.  (I was the president of our club.  Ah yeah.  It was actually a lot of fun, although I HATED having to wear the green hat and scarf to lead the meetings.  Heehee!)

By high school, I was participating in choir, 4-H, and FFA.  (Yes, I just admitted to that.  It was awesome and a lot of fun.  Someday I will post about my various exploits, complete with photos of me and my prize-winning pigs and sheep.  Something to look forward to, for sure!)

But not sports.

And, that was okay.

Because I preferred just hanging out with friends and going to their houses after school and eating lots of food.  SO much more fun than running around being active!

I'm all about helping my kids to achieve their potential and explore their interests.  But I'm also all about us sitting around the dinner table each night, together, enjoying a meal.  I'm all about being home and not living out of our car.  I like relaxed weekends that, if anything, involve spending time with people we love.

So I'm honestly not sure where sports will fit into our family.  I'm certain this makes me horribly sexist but I think I feel more compelled to get Yosef and Biniam into Little League or something than I am in putting Anna in sports.  Weird, I know.  And I want to say I'm not AGAINST sports, or against spending the weekend at the baseball diamond/soccer field/football field.  AT ALL.  I think it's GREAT, kids love it, it's a great self-esteem booster (unless they are like I was, and horrible at sports, ha!) and surely great family time.  But I don't think it's probably right for OUR family, at least not at this stage in our lives.

I THINK, and this could change, but I THINK, we will start with swimming lessons for the four bigger kids at a rec center.  I'd hoped to do that this fall, but I waited too long to sign up, and the class was filled.  Sniff, sniff.  We have adoption travel sometime in the future and I guess I want to get a better handle on that before I sign them up.  But I think my kids would enjoy it, and it would be good for them.

After that, we'll see.  Money is of course also a factor.  Thankfully Denver Rec offers a TON of sports that are so, so affordable (even though it does add up for multiple kiddos!)

And, yes, I'm also interested in checking out Denver County 4-H when my kids are a little bigger. (Yes, urban areas also have 4-H.) I think it can be a great thing for kids and a wonderful educational experience. I'd love my kids to learn neat skills and get to enter their photography, sewing, baking etc. in local fairs and competitions. I think 4-H is a GREAT avenue for this type of thing because kids can pursue their own interests. So we'll see.

As for right now, my kids, in addition to their one-day-a-week homeschool program, do participate in one "extra-curricular".  On Wednesday nights, they are part of a church program across the street from our house (!)  The boys go to a 4s and 5s class where they color and hear a story.  Anna is part of a GEMS club (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior.)  They have snacks and play games and learn Bible verses and do crafts.  I love that she is getting fellowship with other girls her age.  We're still able to have a regular day, have dinner together at home, and then one of us walks the kids over.  Low impact for us, super fun for them.  (And some sweet time for us with our two littlest girls!)

How about you?  How do YOU navigate sports in  your family?  I think if we only had two children this would be a lot simpler, but with a bigger family, it's a bit of a balancing act.  The thought of kids on different teams playing at different fields around the city  I DON'T ever seeing us being a die-hard "sports family", if that makes any sense.  Come to think of it I don't know what we'll be.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I should get this figured out!  :)  (In the meantime, I love the relationship between these two sweet girls.  Kaitlyn LOVES Mary.  Loves, loves, loves.  She was great at holding her younger sister and keeping her entertained throughout the day.)

And bonus points to any former 4-Hers out there (I KNOW there are some of you) who can remember the 4-H pledge...

AND, for a final photo of our afternoon, evidence that the kids were having fun and working hard  :) :


janee said...

Do you think we could have been twins separated at birth? Because I pretty much agree with everything you just said. Not to say that twins always agree on everything. . . but you know what I mean. =)

And we plan to raise a pig next year. =)

Brianna Heldt said...

Janee YES! And if that were true, I would finally have a sibling! :)

That is great about the pig. You will definitely have to chronicle your pig adventures on your blog so I can follow along!!! I bet your kids will LOVE it.

dawn said...

Sports are already a huge part of our life. I played multiple sports growing up as did my brother and parents. Noah lives and breathes sports. He started soccer at 3, did t-ball and tennis this summer, is tearing up swimming lessons, wants to do basketball and karate. Zo has only done swimming (she's only 2) but will start dance at 3 and also wants to do soccer.

I don't think there is anything wrong with not doing sports. I couldn't imagine not doing it because it was such a huge part of my life and because my kids love sports and they want to do it. 4H is great. I don't think kids need sports but activities and clubs are good because it gives theme the opportunity to form an identity separate from their families.

I totally think raising a pig would have been awesome.

Kristen said...

With 4 boys ages 7-15 (two adopted from Ethiopia!), we gave up organized sports several years ago. At sign up time, you typically have no idea when the practices are, and rearranging a schedule for four kids is next to impossible. I quickly learned (and made a rule!) that my kids don't sign up for anything that doesn't have a set time/schedule. Missing practices and games is just not worth being on a team--especially if you don't feel like a part of it! Luckily, starting in middle school, our district offers after school sports teams which work great for me, because the boys ride a late bus home, leaving me free to make dinner and help the other ones with homework and music practice. That is one thing all my boys do--music lessons. Invaluable for learning and brain development. I'm a long-time reader of your blog and a fellow adoptive AAI mom, who obviously can be long winded!

Tracy Regusci said...

We have two in sports this year and I hate it but the kids love it! Like you I don't want to squish their interested but I absolutely hate Saturday soccer games with a passion. The good thing is Matt enjoys them! I have take my sport policy from the book a sane womens guide to raising a large family, I think it was a book you recommend. And because us that I have managed to combine a few sports like swimming in the summer. But right now we are doing gymnastics with one and soccer with the other and it seems crazy. I am thinking w might go to parks and rec next time because they don't have Saturday games

Angela said...

Swim lessons on Wed. afternoons, and piano at Options is our limit right now...but I can see that Ryan lives and breathes backyard soccer and football and baseball and at some point he is going to want to live them ON a field, rather than in our backyard. I think he could be really good, and it could be fun for our whole family to rally around him in that and cheer him on.
I don't know what it is going to look like, or when it will start, but I'm delaying it as much as possible!
I remember going to my brothers little league games and playing in the dirt every Saturday, and loving that. ;)And, feeling a sense of pride for them when they made a big play, or scored a run. I didn't need to play...although, I did, but watching them was more fun for me.

Monica said...

Preach it sister!

AYSO really does stand for "All Your Saturdays are Over," really. Keith's family is huge and athletic. I am not. I used to like tennis and swimming, but that's about it.

We've put Kyle in t-ball. Now both boys are in soccer and Audrey is in a dance class. And it was a really stupid decision. At this point, I think far more can be gained from being at home playing with sibs, than mom and dad running around, in bad moods trying to get everyone where they need to be while retaining their own sanity.

If kids are athletically gifted, or want to play a sport, fine. But, I really don't think it's necessary unti 8+. And to that end, I've strongly considered signing the kids up for a school where they can attend class once a week and be included in the sports there.

It is very wise to not put your kids in sports. Swimming is perfect because they can all go at once and water survival is very necessary for young kids.

Just my two(opinionated) cents.


Anna said...

Growing up I LOVED sports. My parents did their best to let us do whichever one we chose. I was usually either in gymnastics/soccer/softball, and etc. We were a smaller family and so it was a lot more doable. I think you have a huge point when it comes to not creating a life that is centered around sports but I will say....

Some of my sports and games are some of my favorite memories. hahaha. I think my parents realized too that for a couple of hyper active was a great outlet to learn discipline/follow directions/work within boundaries/ run out some of our energy...especially with my brother who was for real ADHD...not over diagnosed "boys are hyper" ADHD. Medicated and the whole 9-yards ADHD. :) Anyways...sports are great in my humblest of opinions.

I would say if and when your kids are super interested then have them pick only one to commit to (unlike us who did multiple ones). A thought also is that waiting till they are older is great but if they are showing great talent in the area holding them back in the area for too long just puts them way behind the other kids when they do enter the sport. I guess in the scheme of life it doesn't really matter yeah? BUT...coming from someone who has been active her whole life... Being active and involved in sports has and still does a ton for me. Just food for thought...esp in regard to that cute little boy who showed some "sporting potential" at field day...hehehe


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