Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The girls and their activities

We have two very different kids. Well, yeah, they're from two different sides of the world, they have two different backgrounds, and they look completely different. But I mean, you know, besides all that.

This is one daughter.


The dancer.

A weekly class in tap and ballet. The beautiful recital costumes. A trophy at the end. A daughter that twirls through life and down hallways. We have three weeks until the recital and L is over the moon with excitement and a touch of nerves that she's not sure she knows the dances or maybe she won't be able to see her teacher for help. But it's mostly just excitement.

This is the other daughter.


The athlete.

Winter basketball, spring softball.

We had a long talk tonight about sports, about playing. About talent and practice. About being cocky and being willing to work. About perception and reality. About strengths and weaknesses.

Several of K's teammates were tapped for the travel team this past week. K wasn't one of them. The deal is that K is just as good as a couple of the girls, but she doesn't come across that way. She's enthusiastic, involved, and focused, but she inherited my absolute lack of grace. She can hit, field, and throw well, but she looks awkward doing it and she's slow as molasses.

K really wants to at least be asked to play on the team, so we talked about what it would take. The first 4 girls in the batting line-up were asked for the travel team; K is 5th in the line-up. I think having the goal of making the travel team will be good for her. She'd gotten into a habit of vegging out in front of the TV far more than is good for her. She's been complacent about her level of playing skills. She was even wavering on whether or not she wanted to continue playing. We identified some areas that we can work on - some small changes that can be implemented now, some big ones that we can work on.

Yes, I freely admit that I'm competitive. I was disappointed that K wasn't asked to play for the travel team, but I do know she's not ready. There are many life skills to be learned on the playing field. Success is good. Winning is more fun than losing. Do your best, work your hardest, set high personal goals and then do what's necessary to reach them. That's what I want for K. I don't want her coasting through softball season content with "good enough" just like I don't want her doing that in school or in life.

K doesn't have the natural grace and athleticism that some of the other girls have, but natural talent will only take you so far. K will have to work harder to achieve the same results that others reach so easily already, but in the end she will be the better player because she learned to work now when she's young. When the girls are older and things are harder, K will already have the necessary work ethic as a habit. The other girls may stumble because all of a sudden they will have to work and they won't know how.

The absolute best advice you can give you children is "Do hard things". Do them now. That's what we should be teaching them.

1 comment:

Howard said...

Valerie, when I read posts like this by you I'm very glad you married my little brother.