Joining the Club

Kids sport - NZ DadsWhen I was young I was that kid who tried pretty much every sport that came my way. Soccer, rugby, cricket, badminton, tennis, karate, softball, the list goes on. I liked the trying of the new things but nothing really stuck. Rugby had me for about 6 seasons but it was never going to take me to the top tier. That was okay though because I had fun and it seemed a good way to spend my time.

My daughter tried hockey a couple of years ago. She is currently doing kung fu and is interested in playing soccer next. If she is anything like her father she will try a few more as well. She also picks my guitar up from time to time and is developing a pretty good strum. Her interests grow and change every day as it should for any child and I happily support her in whatever endeavour she sets out on.

I see her enthusiasm and willingness to try new things as the most important qualities to nurture. If success comes her way nobody would be prouder than me – I was over the moon when she came second in her school cross country – but I have always felt success should come as a by-product of a child enjoying what they are doing. If they enjoy the process of what they are doing then isn’t that enough? A little taste of winning or recognition is a great motivator but in the context of primary school sports should it be the sole aim as it is for grown-ups? Kids aren’t kids for long enough, and it seems too many grownups have forgotten that they were little once as well.

Among all of the possible clubs, teams and groups for a child to spend their time in don’t forget there is also the option of plain old down time as well. Staying active is important for a growing mind and body but there is nothing to say staying active can’t be as simple as going for a walk. In the time it takes for us to take the dog for a wander we are able to tell each other about our days.It helps me to stay connected to her everyday life amongst the hectic pace of working full time and shared custody arrangements. If I got stuck picking her up from one school activity after another I would miss out on the ‘us’ time. Why is there the need to try and fill every second of spare time doing some activity?

I ‘hang out’ with my daughter a lot. We keep busy and we both enjoy the odd bit of quiet time. Our Sunday afternoon this week was spent on the couch reading the books we had bought at the bookfair downtown. It is the time we spend together that is most important, the shared experiences. I suppose I am making the most of being a team-mate for as long as I can before my girl relegates me to the spectator’s box for good. Long may it last.

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