With the past few months of winter leaving us housebound more often than I liked, I was desperate to find an indoor activity for my son that would expend some energy...more than just going to the mall again. We (finally) joined our local YMCA a few months ago as a family, where he has been taking swimming lessons for a couple of years. When I received the spring catalog of classes I was excited to see so many sports/recreation classes listed for little kids. He's only three, so being in a formerly organized sport is not age appropriate. Most of his "girl" friends take dance lessons, and while I'm not opposed to him learning dance, he has not expressed interest in it and I thought he needed more exposure to boys, since so many of his buddies are girls. We signed up for an intro to team sports for 3-4 year olds. We've gone twice so far. It is hysterical.
The first class focused upon indoor hockey. After a series of stretching exercises and sprints around the gym, the "coach" handed out foam and plastic hockey sticks to all the kids. They practiced hitting balls, running drills, and then broke up into two teams to play each other. Let's recall that the average age of the children is 3.5 years. My monkey boy refused to do the stretching and I had to run him for the sprints around the gym. He was ok with being handed a stick, though, and had a blast.
This week the sport was baseball, or more appropriately T-ball. My guy still refused to stretch, but he agreed to sit near the group with me and pretend to stretch at times. He outright refused to run around the gym for sprints. When the coach pulled out a bat, bases and balls, he was ready to be a team player. The coach taught them first to run bases and each kid got two turns to run around the bases. Then each kid got a chance to hit five balls and then run around bases again. Finally, each kid was assigned a spot to stand to field the ball that the coach threw to them. My guy was on third base and seemed to like it. More than half the kids could not follow directions and there were some tears about misunderstandings, but all in all they had fun. Thankfully my monkey was able to understand the directions and follow through most of the time. It took a lot of patience on the part of the coach, along with lots of parental encouragement, to get through the class.
Neither myself, nor my husband, were involved in team sports as a child. I grew up in the 70s and early 80s when Title IX was brand new and there weren't the opportunities for young girls the way there are now in regards to team sports. In high school there were girls' teams, but by then I was not in the mindset to play a sport. So now I am taking my son to a class where at least half the class has team sports parents. The difference is obvious. The one little boy was shouting "defense, defense, defense gets the girls!" the first week. Apparently his dad was a lacrosse player in school, playing defense, and taught him that. His mom informed me that she played offense, but was overruled in the house. This little boy is very serious about his sports, which makes his dad very happy, according to mom. Mom remarked he doesn't know his ABC's but he can tell you almost anything about sports. He even brought his baseball glove to class this week! (I hadn't even thought about it!) Another little boy, my friend's son, was SOOOO excited to play baseball. He could barely control himself he just wanted to play. He tried to catch every ball and even hit all five of his balls on his turn! Both of his parents were big team sports players growing up, so it isn't surprising that he is a lot like them. I realized that my monkey had never even played baseball before, as he didn't know how to hold the bat. I think this is going to be a good class for him...maybe he'll find his passion in one particular game. And if not, it's ok. I also have a feeling there will be a lot of theatre and drama classes in our future too, considering his dramatics and active imagination.
When we came home today, we had to locate our Curious George baseball bat and glove, but we could only find the bat. I think we packed everything else up in the barn (shed) for the winter. It's going to be a fun spring this year. I see a t-ball set up in the back yard in our future!