Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012 12:53:39 PM
My husband’s football career ended with a hard hit that literally sent his helmet spinning around his head. He was in the sixth grade. As a child I was also unlucky in sports having been spiked in the face with a volleyball, hit by a runaway bowling ball, among other things. With pasts like ours, I can already feel that itch to make our daughter the next sports phenomenon.
“Can she do both soccer and cheerleading?” I yell over the noise at the convention center.
“Maybe they have different seasons,” Hubby replies.
We haven’t been at our niece’s cheer competition an hour before I am certain that my 15-month old is destined for the top of the pyramid. She’s petite and limber. It all makes perfect sense in my head.
Another squad is on stage, but there is something different about this team. A girl at the point of the group sits in a wheelchair with a cast on her leg. Sure she smiles and does some sort of spirit fingers routine, but when the music starts she is swiftly rolled off the stage so that the real show can begin. As I survey the crowd, I find more of them—broken, discarded girls in uniform with no place to cheer. The danger and consequence of it becomes too real.
I am a search-it-by-every-angle, list-the-pros-and-cons kind of girl. Was I so romanced by the idea of my daughter becoming a super athlete that I didn’t consider the downside? Sadly, the answer is yes. Am I paying more attention now? Absolutely.
My daughter is young. I have plenty of time to come up with the rules. Do find activities where my children are naturally gifted or interested. Right now my daughter’s natural gifts include running away from bubbles like they are toxic fumes and rocking out to the theme song from the Big Bang Theory.
Don’t let their participation in extracurricular activities interfere with schoolwork.
Do encourage them to excel at their given activity.
Don’t stress them out or crush their spirits when things don’t go their way.
There is something that surpasses all the guidelines and could probably serve many a parent well.
It is time to eulogize my athletic past. All my should haves, would haves, and could haves are destined for the grave. If I focus on not living vicariously through my children, I think we’ll all end up just fine.