Monday, September 24, 2012

Sporty Influence

I was one of those annoying but typical kids that wanted to take lessons in all sorts of things, but never longer than two weeks or so. It would only take that long for me to realize that it takes hard work to be good at __________ (fill in the blank) and that you can't just show up and be great at a whole lot after just one lesson unless you're _________ (fill in the blank with name of someone you know who's annoyingly awesome at everything instantly).

Because of my quitting habit, my mom stopped buying me outfits and/or equipment for every kind of lesson I took, and instead resorted to borrowing or thrifting. So I was the girl at ballet class in a poo-brown leotard with a pee-yellow tutu and a cornflower blue ribbon in my hair to tie the "look" together. Smart on her part though, because I'm pretty sure I quit ballet after a month or so, and moved on to the slightly less mainstream "sport" of baton twirling.

You heard me. Baton.

Why the baton you ask? My mom had been a twirler back in her 1960's glory days and I think she may have influenced this decision. For some reason the local news came to do a story on our class on Saturday. That night, we excitedly sat down in front of the TV and waited to see if I had any camera time. Not only was I in a shot but it was a close-up of me in the pee-yellow leotard being scolded for chewing gum. The shot followed me off to the left and zoomed in as I tossed the gum in a trashcan.  We used to have this whole thing on tape but later my older brother Jeff taped over it with episodes of Beavis and Butthead.

During late elementary and junior high I took figure skating lessons. I must have done so for several years because my parents did invest in some shiny white Riedell ice skates and one neon costume with a skirt. I liked figure skating, but I never seemed to get very good at it, and you can only skate in circles for so long before you get bored and try to do a triple lutz triple loop (yes, that's a real move) and fall and get hurt and then everyone is laughing at you, especially the younger girls who are better and have cooler costumes with matching skate covers.  Brian Boitano trained at my rink and accidentally slammed into me one time and sent me sliding face first toward the door where they keep the Zamboni. Thanks a lot, Brian Boitano. Figure skating wasn't my thing.

Then came soccer.

In 9th grade I sold my ice skates, bought some cheap plastic cleats, and enrolled for club soccer. This turned out to be a great decision. I could run and be wild, kick stuff, slide tackle (beware the red card!), fall down, get dirty, and hopefully, get GOOD at it. And in some ways, I did. I went on to play a little in college and then recreationally until a few years ago. I married another soccer player, Kent, who had played from early childhood through college as well, and was way better than I ever was.
We kick a ball around every now and then. We watch the World Cup. We still like soccer more than other sports. We're soccer fans (but not like the crazy Europeans).

Poor Wes. If he wants to try baseball and football or something even scarier to dad- dance or gymnastics, he'll have to deal with hand-me-down gear. But I think if he comes to us and in his little voice says "I want to play soccer", dad will drop what he's doing and zip over to Sports Authority for some kangaroo leather Adidas Copa Mundial cleats and a UEFA Euro Official Matchball. And that's not cheap, friends.

Kentie a la 1984
College Glory Days
Wes doesn't quite get the whole kicking part yet.

1 comment:

Cheltz said...

Oh, he'll play soccer. You know he will. And your husband will spend all the money in the world on it :). I knew a guy who wanted to learn piano, and his parents actually drew out a keyboard for him to practice on. When he continued impressively with that, they bought him a little keyboard, and a later a piano. I think it's only smart for parents to see if a child really has an interest in an activity before getting too invested in it.