His father is a natural athlete. He was an all-state football player in high school and played on a semi-pro basketball team (whatever that is) in his youth.
I, on the other hand, am not an athlete by any definition of the word. Oh sure, I played intramural basketball in junior high, and I played on the co-ed rec volleyball team for a season, but I was awful at both.
My son takes after me in many ways; most of them I’m proud of. Athletically, however, I wish he were slightly more like his father. Still, he has come a long way.
When he was small he hated to crawl. He was much happier just being carried from place to place. Once he finally mastered that crawling thing, usually with a pathetic outstretched arm in the hopes of a pity ride, he took forever to learn to walk. At last, at nearly a year and a half, he figured it out.
Bike riding was similar. He got a slick bike with training wheels around kindergarten age. It wasn’t my idea. I knew he lacked the coordination for it, and I was right. It sat in the garage for a long time, next to the battery powered mini-motorcycle (also not my idea). They both gathered dust until one day he decided to try it again. Of course by then he was much bigger. Still, it wasn’t his thing. Finally, in the fifth grade he received a new bicycle, one suitable for a ten year old, not a five year old. We took him to the park, he rode on the grass, and he finally learned. He was rewarded with a twenty dollar bill found in the parking lot. I guess the gods were pleased.
This boy has tried gymnastics, basketball, flag football, and tackle football. He never quit any of the sessions for which he was enrolled, but he also wasn’t exactly a super star. That was okay with us and okay with him. He has lots of other talents, so if he wasn’t an athlete no big deal.
Then came high school. One day I picked him up from school and he announced that he had joined the golf team. The golf team? He had never even held a golf club as far as I knew, aside from a few games of mini-golf. They told the kids that no experience was necessary, so he tried it and liked it. A lot. Now he golfs and has a varsity letter.
He also plays tennis. This is something he has done for years in the summer. My mom is a big tennis player, at least she used to be. She has signed up all the grandkids for tennis lessons, so my boy was familiar with the sport. Still, a week here and a week there does not a tennis player make. Last year as a freshman he decided not to try out, but this year he went for it. The other day he played his first varsity match, and he was happy.
I’m so proud of my athlete. I’m proud of him for finding his own way and sticking to it. I’m proud of him for working hard to improve in both of his sports, and for enjoying himself along the way. I’m proud of him for not giving up when it gets difficult or when he is defeated in competition. I’m proud of him for being a good teammate and for never missing practice. This boy constantly impresses me. I can learn a lot from him. I’m proud to be his mother, even if I’m not an athlete myself.