bentangle

Aptitude

by on Jul.23, 2008, under parenthood, sports

It is coming to my attention that my son (who is currently 21 months old) may be destined to have a knack for sports.  It seems that fate likes irony.  I was never your typical alpha male type – I never cared much for sports or cars or any of the more macho pursuits.  I’ve always been the quiet, nerdy type and I have no problem admitting it.  I have always been happy as such.  Similarly, my wife is not your typical girly girl.  She own 3 pairs of shoes and two of them are sneakers and hiking sandals.  So when faced with parenthood, we were both prepared to raise our children without prejudice or gender steering of any kind – we would always allow them to be who they want to be and try not to push them into any particular mold.

Fast forward 5 years later, we have 2 kids – a 4 1/2 year-old girl and a 1 1/2 year old boy … and they managed to find their own way into fairly typical gender roles.  My daughter loves the color pink, playing dress-up, dolls, and tea party.  My son is a small tornado of what can only be described as boyish energy – he throws things, he bangs on things, and he will scale just about anything for the purpose of jumping off of it.  And now, he is focusing his attention on balls … the sports varieties, that is.  And I have to say he is pretty good at handling them (again, think sports … weirdos).

The other day we were in the backyard cleaning up after a BBQ party we had and he came across a small football that someone left behind.  He picks it up, takes it back over his shoulder with one hand, and launches it halfway across the yard to my wife.  She tosses it back and he manages to reproduce the feat a good dozen times or so before he decides to start throwing it to me instead and makes me run to catch it.  The whole thing devolves into touchdown dances on our patio before we finish up our cleaning task and head inside.  Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself pegging him as a future quarterback, but who am I to stand in the way of talent if it is there.

Since then, though, he has taken to another sport – soccer.  He decided to start kicking around a soccer ball in the living room.  And wouldn’t you know, he kicked the ball a good 12 feet across the room to my wife some 20 times or so with surprising precision before our little princess decided she wanted a turn at the ball.  If they both want to play soccer, I have no problem with that.  But I don’t think I’m being prejudiced in thinking that my son will likely prove to be more impressive to watch.

So here I am, a father who would have been happy having all girls so as to avoid these issues:  Who am I, a man who has never played or had aptitude in any sport, to raise an athlete?  Will I lack the proper enthusiasm or appreciation to push my son to be the kind of athlete he has the potential to be?  While I’m not really losing sleep over the matter, I do have concerns – how much do I encourage; how much pressure is too much … or not enough?  Or am I just getting way too ahead of myself?

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3 Comments for this entry

  • christy

    your getting way ahead of yourself. Gooooooo Jacob!!!!!!!

  • Stacy

    Don’t doubt yourself. I think you will be the father he needs you to be. the fact that you are already impressed by his talents means you are already interested in his abilities! You don’t have to be an athlete to encourage one! Keep having a blast in the backyard with him. You and Cori will be his biggest cheering squad! And if you aren’t loud enough the rest of your family will cheer along as well! Just enjoy all of fun it brings! I am proud of the father you have become! I love you!!! your sis

  • Xanadu

    I have a Son who turned 9 in June. I can say that he almost never stops amazing me. He’s turning out to be what I should’ve been. We like a lot of the same things, we play kinda the same, we seem to just “understand” each other (for the most part).

    He’s trying to be like me.

    Me!

    Me?

    Me…

    Let any deity willing to listen help him because I don’t know that I can. I try to not push him certain ways. I try to have him think – FOR HIMSELF – about his actions in given situations. I don’t want him to be like me. Well, the me I ended up being, anyway.

    I’m different these days, though. I kinda had to be. I was having to choose which side of the grass I wanted to be on. I’ve since chose the top side (or I wouldn’t be typing this).

    Wait.

    My Son knows (for the most part) the me that I am now. No the me that was… well… not “there”. I mean, I never missed a day with him when it was my time. I was sometimes late, and not always “awake”, but I was there.

    I’ve since been really there *FOR* him, not just *with* him. He notices.

    I guess it’s not so bad that he’s growing up just like me.

    The me I should’ve been from the get-go, anyway.

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