Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I like sports

Let me start by saying that I work nights. I get to see my daughter right before school, right after school, and on the weekends. She is involved in Tennis now during the week, so I usually do not get a chance to watch her practice. This morning however, my wife was beckoning me. I went to see what she was so excited about and was surprised to see a video of my daughter practicing tennis. My daughters nanny has a video recorder on her cell phone and recorded it for us, how nice. Well, needless to say, she was doing great.

She has been practicing tennis since last summer when she begged us to let her join a group lesson. My wife and I were both very athletic as youth, and our daughter is so full of energy we thought it would be great. She fell it love with the sport right away, but not for long. After about four months of group lessons she started to become bored with it. She said she didn't like it anymore. I was a little upset because not only did she display some aptitude for the sport, she had been so enthusiastic to begin with. I asked her why she wanted to quit. "It's too hard", she told me. I could understand. When I was about nine my dad and brothers and I went to see an amature boxing match. We, the boys, all begged our father to let us join a boxing club. Fortunately there was one in the town near where we lived. We joined, it was hard, I didn't like it for a while. My dad told me to stick with it, I would get better, and eventually see how fun the sport could be. He was correct in all three. Although I wasn't a gold glove, I got better. I won most of my matches, and actually scored a couple of KO's. But I think what it taught me most was to never give up.

So, I sat my daughter down and told her this: "Keep playing until next summer. If you still feel like you don't like it, you can quit." As I watched the video of my daughter practicing, I was delighted. She was 'into it' and looked so much better. Her focus on the game was inspiring. I mean really an eight year old with that kind of focus was simply impressive. It also showed me she really wants to get better. She is not talking about quitting anymore and seems to have enthusiasm for every practice. Oh yeah, we also started her on private lessons so I think that helped. Some of the things I like about my daughter playing a sport, or any child for that matter, follow. First, it keeps her active; she's not at home playing video games or messing around on the computer. Second, she's made friends there; these friends are the kind that could last a lifetime. Why? They obviously have at least one thing in common. Finally, sports teach more that just how to play. They teach focus and determination. They teach responsibility in following rules and being fair. And probably most important, they teach confidence.

I wanted to keep this short, but hey that's not easy to do when ideas flow but I will finish here. Parents, get your kids involved with some activity. It doesn't have to be sports. My daughter is also very interested in art, chess, and acting. I try to give her the opportunity to learn as much extracurricular stuff as possible. Get your kids off the couch and off the Playstation, it teaches them little. Children who are involved in activities learn social skills as well as the activity skill. They learn lessons that will carry throughout their lives.

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