Considering how obsessed about running / cycling / bouldering / Crossfit / swimming both MrB and I are, it might come as a surprise to you that we don’t have particularly sporty children.
The 6-year old has decent enough hand-eye coordination so he does ok with football and tennis at school, but he’s still so little that mostly he just wants to ride his bike, wrestle with his brother, swim (mostly jump into the pool) and boulder on Saturdays. And play Minecraft a lot. (or something called Goat Simulator, the point of which my brain hasn’t figured out yet)
The 10-year old does not have great hand-eye coordination so he’s not great at most ball games at school (they do football, rugby, cricket, tennis). He’s a pretty decent swimmer (pretty decent = nicely middle of the pack) and a pretty good rock climber, but only because he’s been doing the NICAS rock climbing courses for a few years by now. In his free time he’d rather play Minecraft, or with Lego, or wrestle with his brother and then play more Minecraft.
Neither of them ever want to join us for a run or pick up a dumbbell when we’re lifting outside. I have seen videos of little kids doing muscle-ups and double unders – that is not my kids.
At the moment the 10-year old is training for a triathlon, there’s a team from his school going to one in June and we signed him up :) Oops. We just figured that somebody in this family has got to do a triathlon. He didn’t put up his hand himself, he just considers himself to be non-sporty and lets the extracurricular sport activities usually pass him by.
Last Friday I cycled over to pick him up from his cycling and running practice, and afterwards we cycled home together. (If riding a bike in London is nerve wrecking at best of times, try doing it with a child in tow. Yikes.)
But anyway, when we got home, the kiddo said about his triathlon training (which he totally enjoys now, by the way):
“You know this whole experience is making me more sporty than anyone ever thought I was!”
I was so glad to hear that and we had a nice little talk about being naturally good at something vs. training and becoming good at something vs. participating in sport even if you are not the best at it but just because you have fun.
I always say to people (mostly from my past) who are surprised by my level of fitness these days – it’s not that you are either born sporty or born not-sporty and that’s how you’re always going to be. Just recently I got to stand on a podium for probably the first time in my life – I was never a sporty child / teenager / young adult. Now I know though that I don’t have to be the BEST, I just have to enjoy what I’m doing and only compare myself to myself, only worry about how I’m improving and not worry about how much somebody else is improving.
Of course I am inspired by a lot of people who are faster than me and lift more than me, but it’s inspiration, not envy. I do not beat myself up over the fact that I am not them.
Yesterday I actually took part of another Crossfit competition. This one was just in my own box with each class, based on the time of the day, competing for points.
I had so much fun, I pushed myself hard but at times also didn’t quite perform as well as I maybe wanted to (I didn’t know chest to bar pull ups were as hard as they are even when you do the JUMPING version of them! :).
I have come such a long way though since I started Crossfit 2 years ago, I am loving being this fit and I am loving being this competitive and doing well under pressure (for once in my life!).
I think I really am not a quiet nerd anymore. I think I am a strong, powerful woman. Hear me roar! :D
And I hope my kids learn to love a sport as well and learn sooner than I did that sport is not only for people with natural talent – it’s for anyone who’s willing to give it a go and who shows up day in a day out and works at it with good attitude and while having fun.
I told my little triathlete that my experience with running/Crossfit/etc. is making ME too way more sporty than anyone (including myself) ever thought I was!