Isabelle has started gymnastics. She was way beyond excited when I told her on Christmas day that she would be starting lessons in one week. She has now had 2 lessons and is loving it but I have noticed something interesting. She gets home crabby and exhausted. When I watch her going through the skill building tasks of walking on a balance beam, doing backward rolls on mats and swinging from bars I only see the fun she is having but I realized after the first lesson, she just did a 1 hour workout! When I have worked out for 1 hour I feel great but I am also exhausted and desperate for food.
I know people always talk about keeping kids active but it wasn't until this moment, seeing how tired Isabelle was after an hour of active play, that I realized how important it is, how much down time she has. And I became even more excited about having her involved in a sport.
We aren't really a sports family. Jake did baseball for a number of years but I think the dad's coaching Jake were a little relieved when we finally stopped signing him up. We didn't really care that he wasn't good, we didn't spend our evenings and weekends working to help him improve, and he didn't really care that he wasn't good but kept asking to play because he was having fun. This kind of attitude doesn't garner a lot of admiration in team sports circles. Which I think is why Jake has enjoyed wrestling so much. While there is a team, when it comes right down to the match, it is all about him. Does he want to win and what kind of effort is he going to put in? Which seems to be much more motivating to Jake. He won't be a college wrestler, he won't be going to state. But he is having fun. He is learning how to work out his body, be healthy and active. And that is what I want my children to get out of their time in sports.
I would love it if Isabelle really clicked with gymnastics and shot to super stardom. We are enjoying watching my niece, the future Olympic athlete, master the sport of swimming as she accumulates wins in increasingly large circles, from local to state to regional competitions. We are proud and excited for her future. But Isabelle might not be that motivated, she might just want to have fun and be happy to simply show off a back handspring to her friends occasionally.
Since that day I ran out our back door 7 years ago and began my career as an adult onset athlete I have learned a lot about why it is important to have your children in sports. As I have become more disciplined, learned to focus, achieved goals, pushed through to the finish line, I have been able to take those same skills into my day to day life. I have taken chances I would never have taken before, I have tried new things that would have scared me to much before, I have felt a strength I didn't know was possible. I have seen myself succeed and found it to be a high worth chasing in other areas of my life. I have seen what I can do in one area of my life and believe I can do it in other areas as well. I have believed in myself.
When Jake was little it really didn't seem like a big deal that he wasn't involved in a sport but today, having seen how my life has changed simply by running out my back door, I can't imagine not raising Isabelle to be active and involved in some sport.
So I continue to work out on a regular basis to keep my health and mental stability strong and am enjoying watching Isabelle develop the endurance necessary to be physically active throughout her life. Whether it is as a gymnast or some other activity I know the reward will be worth the effort.