Thursday, March 15, 2012

Matching Kids to sports

When I was a little kid I watched my sister learn to swim. I decided I could do that and away we both went. Turns out we were both pretty good at it and we joined a club and I ended up "retired' at about 19 years of age and went in to the work force never to  look back. The decision wasn't too difficult, when I was swimming there wasn't a lot any of money in it, so once I discovered you could work and get paid - I was off.

I'm a fairly chatty bloke so swimming may not have been a great choice for me, as you spend 2 hours a day twice a day, 6 days a week with most of your face and body under water and this does not lend itself to chatting. So I would have to start the conversation at each end when everybody was assembled and then carry it on though the session at each rest period. Which is no mean feat as you have to remember where you are in the conversation and the session you are supposed to be focused on.

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Actually now that I think about it if I had focused as much on the training as I did the chatting, I probably would have gone even faster and got yelled at a lot less by the coach.

So this leads me to my point ( bear with me I'll get there)

I now have two bundles of joy of my own and they are starting to reach the age where they are getting serious about sport. I want them to enjoy the experience and I certainly want them to get a sense of being part of a  team ( you don't get that in swimming ) and the responsibility that brings.

So here I am looking at each minion and trying to match them with a sport (which will also be parent friendly) and that ticks all the boxes above.

Ands it's hard not to want / expect that every time they run on to the arena that they will be the next big super star and be whisked way to a life of luxury and security (with me as their manager).

So lets have a look at the mainstream sports on offer now days for boys -

Aussie Rules Football - Not a sport for the faint hearted parent. If seeing little Bobby get his head driven into the ground and him return covered in mud and grass stains gives you shivers then try something else. Even with the extra rules to protect the little ones, it's still injury prone. Mind you nothing is quite as funny as watching little kids running up and down those huge grounds chasing an oval shaped ball that just won't bounce the way they want it to. It's kinda like herding cats.

Basketball - This gets a big tick from me, 2 halves of 18 minutes, it's indoors. Will not suit children who don't like running. Basketball is a very intense sport and I actually really enjoy watching it. The boys seem to get satisfaction from everybody on the team getting the chance to get scores on the board. I will however issue a caution, if your beloved lacks spatial awareness, carry a lot of tissues for the inevitable blood noses.

Soccer - Less heads being driven in to the ground than football.  Still plenty of grass stains and mud to keep the kids smiling and the washing machines on over drive. Does require attendance when raining so can be a little trying.

Cricket - This involves sitting around waiting, then you get to stand around waiting. As parents you sit around waiting on the sidelines. I'd pack a lot of snacks and wine coffee. Great for kids who never get bored and don't mind nothing exciting happening. Ever.

I know there's heaps more but only so much space.

So it sounds simple I hear you say, we pick a sport and show up ? As Admiral Akbar always says - "It's a trap !"

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After you have paid your not un-substantial joining fee and uniform fee, each week you will be given a task to assist with on game day. The task could be something simple like cutting up the oranges or buying the snakes for the end of the game. It could however be umpiring or even worse - scoring.

Woe behold if you get scoring and you make a mistake. Before you will get a chance to correct it hordes of parents will point out your error and hopefully for you its not a close game or it can get really awkward. Some of these parents take U9 sports very, very seriously.

So as Saturday rolls around and we fire up the family Taxi to get everybody to the various events, I thank my lucky stars that neither of them are interested in synchronized swimming.....

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