Friday, June 08, 2012

Tennis, Anyone?

Today, for the first time in 20 years of parenting, I had a sports coach/teacher walk up to me and talk about how athletic my child was and how she really should pursue the sport further.  The first time...and this after I had managed to traumatize any number of her hapless siblings by insisting on their participation in the ritual that is suburban sports.  I have memories of her eldest brother almost crying on his way to swim team, of David standing like a confused wooden soldier during a basketball drill, of numerous children repeatedly tripping themselves on a soccer ball. 

You have to understand, I long ago resigned myself to the fact that my children lacked both the competitive spirit and the hand-eye coordination necessary to succeed at soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, you name it.  I convinced myself that it was enough if they could participate in one of these activities without doing actual bodily harm to themselves.  And I was comfortable with that.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, after all.

So picture my shock to have a tennis instructor approach me to rave about Rachel's backhand and explain at length what type racket I need to procure for her.  I did my best, you know, to act as if I had had many of these sort of conversations in my parenting career -- as if, in fact, I had not for 2 decades played the role of conversational wallflower when the ever-popular subject of offspring's athletic prowess came up.  Oh, I was the picture of nonchalance! 

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't give that kid an extra cookie tonight after supper.  Thank you, sweetie, for making me feel, at long last, like a legitimately suburban parent.


[Tennis image: Fastest Tennis Serve]

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13 comments:

  1. I've only been at this parenting this for 9 1/2 years but if anyone every compliments my children on their athletic prowess in any sport, I will be floored!! Congrats to your daughter! (And to you, because you know your parenting skills totally contributed!)

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  2. Well. Congratulations on your Rachel's backswing. It's such a great feeling to get that unexpected complement, isn't it?

    Also, your road trip post was really funny.

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  3. AnonymousJune 08, 2012

    My 7 kids have played softball, baseball, basketball,and soccer, and have had tap, ballet, gymnastics and karate lessons. I can honestly say that they sucked at all of them. As you say, the apple doesn't fall far, I faked a back injury to avoid all of highschool gym. Last year my son, 14, joined a bowling team. He had never played before but is a natural, he qualified for the state competition and won a $500 scholarship. Apparently bowling is the sport this redneck family should have been in all along.,

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  4. Been down that road and it's an expensive one! But yes, it is fun.

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  5. That is awesome. I can't see that ever happening with my offspring. We are all lucky we can walk - even if I am pushing bike riding with themm.

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  6. I have yet to convince any of my kids that they should sign up for a sport. I offer, they decline, and they are active in their own ways so I don't worry about it, but there are times I wonder what skills they have that remain untapped. How exciting for your daughter to know she has such a talent!

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  7. Good for both of you, LOL.

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  8. Bliss! And tennis is the most civilized sport one could excel in as a mother, no? (there are pearls and skirts involved, I think)

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  9. This cracks me up. And I'm totally in your shoes, too. (The first 20 years of your shoes.)

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  10. I have one competitive child who was squashed of all her confidence by her high school softball coaches sophomore and junior year. That was the end of that.

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  11. My kids seem to be better at being geeks than athletes. I'm comfortable with that... a lot more comfortable than Saturday morning soccer games in the rain!

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  12. I am not alone!! Love it.

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