Wednesday, May 19, 2010

She gets her athletic abilities from me.

Really I am no athlete. Not even a little bit. I spent my whole childhood and young adulthood avoiding any and all forms of physical activity. I was contentedly happy as a music geek, faining injuries so that I wouldn't have to participate in anything that might make me work up a sweat. Or show how uncoordinated that I was. That method worked so well for me. I assumed that when I had children, they would naturally follow in my music-geekiness footsteps. From music they would learn poise, confidence, and discipline.

In my early twenties I began to see athletics in a different light. Softball is kinda okay with a group of friends. Water sports are a blast. Fall football games are entertaining. And frisbee golf? Well, now that is downright fun. And I began to admire those who enjoy sports and are actually good at them.

Then I went and married into a family who loves, loves, loves sports. Sports Nuts, I call them. (My mother-in-law even has a degree is Physical Education).

Now me and the man I married have a bit of a quandary: sports or music. While I still believe that poise, confidence, and discipline can be learned from music, I also see the added benefits of fitness that goes along with sports. Having my fingers in tip-top shape from playing piano comes in handy for concertos, but not so much when trying to lose pregnancy weight gain.

 Jeff and I have decided to expose our children to sport and music. Crazy. I know. If they show a natural aptitude and/or desire to participate in one more than the other, then fine. Discipline of character is the goal.

We signed Emma up for T-ball this month through the YMCA. Her cousins (Josh and Jake) were doing it and that made T-ball sound way more appealing than the swimming lessons I was planning on.

Twice a week we go to practice and Emma joins the other 4-6 year olds in learning the fine art of hitting a ball off a T with a bat and catching ground balls with a glove.

That's my girl. Or, I should say, my husband's child since the ball actually made it into the glove.

Notice the kids in the right side of the picture? There is a lot of scrambling and falling going on at PeeWee T-ball.

Emma really enjoys it and is learning new skills. She also does a lot of chewing on her glove and staring off into space. Maybe she is related to me after all. 

At the end of each practice there is a game. With so many kids participating, the bases are pretty hard to see. It's a free for all when a player makes a hit. 30 preschoolers swarming the same ball is a pretty funny event. Eventually one child will pop up from the dogpile with the ball in hand and exclaim, "I got it." Meanwhile, the guy up to bat could have made a home run if he knew where the bases were. They'll get it. Hopefully.

Emma is up to bat...

Looking as an objective observer, I see Emma's talents more in the musical realm. She has a beautiful voice and loves to sing. Her ear is very good too and can repeat tunes that I sing or play on the piano. Today I got Taylor Swift's White Horse stuck in my head. I was absently singing it and then heard Emma mimicking, "... it's too late for you and your white horse... to come around." 

Note to self: only absently sing songs that I want my preschooler repeating. Taylor Swift, go away.

For now, it's T-ball.

So, what do you think? Sports or music for children. Neither or all. Both or some?



Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs said...

My mom forced me to take piano lessons as a kid (a few times), but I am SO not musically inclined. I can sing a little, but I can't play music at all. And, since Mitch is the same way, we aren't really thinking about music so much. Well, we did ask Mitch's mom to teach our boys how to play piano, but we haven't really followed up on that idea. (note to self)

AND, since Mitch was such an athlete growing up, we are really sensitive to NOT pushing our kids into sports. This is the first year Grant has done sports (1st grade), and we have really only signed him up for Daddy's sports (soccer, basketball, track). It will be interesting to see what sport he gravitates toward.

Isn't this early childhood stage crazy? I want my kids to find their own interests, so I want to expose them to stuff, but I don't want to over-schedule them. Stress! But, good stress. I sure hope my kids don't look back in 10 years and wish that I had introduced them to the trombone at a young age. Mommy fail.

Grace said...

Music, for sure! Organized sports, maybe (girls basketball coach, Grandpa, is pretty persuasive!). Unorganized sports, absolutely! Emma is so cute!!!!

Andrea said...

love this post...and yet it makes me cringe a little, because it reminds me of my younger years. oh yes, i was a music geek all the way! my piano teacher didn't want me playing sports (especially in the spring - we had adjudications, of course!)...and so i gladly didn't. i'm completely uncoordinated in anything except playing true. i'm in the arts camp all the way - museums, piano, symphonies, operas even...i can get into all those things. the closest my daughter is going to get to organized sports is ballet!

MelinaLawson said...

All three of us kids did sports and music for a while. Early on it was obvious that Peter and I were not made for the field but I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to "play" soccer in grade school. Eventually I went on to music and drama, and Peter did computers, but Mir did soccer and piano/drums through HS. I never felt like I had too much going on. That was the time I spent with friends and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Kari said...

we do both. we are in the midst of baseball right now...FOUR nights a week. one week left! Caiden has also begun piano lessons. t ball and pony ball(coach pitch) are quite entertaining and I'm actually NOT looking forward to them building their skills and actually playing the game! I'm not even sure they even know that it is a real game.

Our Family Blog said...

We plan to encourage both for sure and see where our children excell most. I think organized sports teach great things to young people, as does music. Fun stuff! I played tball and clearly remember peeing my pants one game and sitting down in the dirt (for some reason) during the game and then my pee wetted butt was covered in dirt. My parents still tease me about it. LOL

Carissa said...

This is so funny! Ryan and I were just talking about this last night.

Ryan was and is a sports person. He still plays basketball for two hours every Sunday with some guys from town! I on the other hand found swim team to competitive and was a band and drama geek!

Ryan says Landon must play basketball and football... I agree that boys need to get their roughness out somewhere but I get nervous about the hitting and hurting.... Swim team I think would be much better, then Ryan reminds me that you can drown in water.... maybe we should just let him play video games. I am sure he can't get hurt that way! lol

In all seriousness I think both are important. We as parents should encourage our children to use the natural abilities that God has given them even if it is football...


Sara said...

Both, to some extent. Kevin and I are both musically and athletically inclined, so we're hoping our kids will be too. I think there are great lifetime benefits in both arenas. Of course, we wouldn't force them to continue with one area if they really don't like it, but both must be given a fair chance. That said, I also think it's pretty important not to over-schedule kids and get them involved in too many activities, so that is why (at this point - decisions can always change:) we've decided we won't sign our kids up for sports until they're school age. Honestly, I don't see much point in T-ball and the like, and think that unorganized sports at a young age is the way to go. But it sure makes for some good pictures and funny stories. :)

Anonymous said...

All things in moderation. Keep eternity in sight. Overscheduling is the pits. Nights at home as a family are a must. Kelsey

Sherri said...

Love the pictures! Emma really does resemble her mommy standing there gazing off into space and the glove in her mouth:) I also enjoy all your friends comments and know you'll strive for a balanced approach. It will be so interesting to see their skills develope. Sure wish We could come to those practices some time too.

Season said...

My husband LOVES baseball and takes the kids to the field to play often when the weather permits. I don't partically care either way for sports but do know from my cousins experience that it can pull the family apart going every which way at night. I can't imagine loading all of my chldren up a few times a week for one child's practice but we almost have enough to have our own team so then we can just play all together. Then it would be worth I guess! Cute pictures but in case you didn't know, there's no dresses in baseball! Or maybe there should be. She really pulls it off.

Kellie said...

I am so not a sports person. I was like you growing up, I did everything possible to avoid physical activity! I did play soccer for 6 years but quit after my freshman year when I realized they were going to require me to do more running then I wanted to. I hate running.

However, I do see the value in sports and with my son's love affair with any sport that involves a ball I foresee a lot of ball games in my future. That's fine by me, I don't mind watching just don't make me play!

I've asked Grace if she would be interested in playing softball or soccer and I don't get one iota of interest from her. I'm halfway tempted to make her try a sport at least once just to try it since she might not know what she's missing.

As for music, I probably don't expose my kids to it enough. We have dance parties in the kitchen every now and again, and we parade through the house with the drum set, but otherwise haven't explored music with them. I guess I'm waiting for them to get a little older before feeling out any interest in playing a musical instrument.

Cathy said...

Have her try different things and go with what she likes! No use forcing kids to do what they hate. Have fun along the way and remember they don't have to be perfect in what they do. I'm the pianist,but I'd much rather watch the kids play sports than a recital...I find myself not holding my breath as much! :-)