By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
I wasn’t a very athletic child. Bookish would have probably been the best way to describe me. When other kids were running, jumping, or playing kickball, you’d find me sitting under the willow tree in the backyard with a paperback.
The love of books is something I’ve passed on to my son – he’ll take a storybook in mommy’s or daddy’s lap over the television most days – but he’s also a lot more active and adventurous than I probably was at his age.
I say probably because I don’t properly recollect what I was like at four-years-old. I know that I could put on my own records for my read-along books at that age, more so because of my mother’s memories than my own (though I have some vague recollections of those story books and the record player). My parents also tell me that I was always a quiet and bashful child.
That is not my son. He can play bashful sometimes, like any kid, but if the one word to describe me at his age was “bashful” the one word to describe him is “vibrant.”
He approaches the world with such vigor and energy it can be hard to keep up with him. That probably has more to do with the fact his daddy is old than any kind of superpowers on his part, but sometimes I wonder. His mother and I often tease that with his energy levels we’d conquer, if not the world, at least the tri-state region.
Because he loves to run, and to kick a ball around the yard, we signed him up for soccer this year. So far it has not been what you would call a resounding success. At his first practice he refused to keep his jersey on, though in his defense it is quite oversized, and wanted to play on the field with the bigger kids instead of with his own team. He lasted about ten minutes, give or take, before we took him home.
On our second attempt it went a little better. He still didn’t keep his shirt on, and he didn’t last through the practice, but both lasted just a little bit longer. Before the practices officially started, when he was playing for fun with a mixed group of older kids, he was having a blast. It was only when it switched to structured play that he lost all interest.
He only wanted to play the way he wanted to, when and where he wanted to.
I wonder how much of that is my fault, and how much is just his personality.
I’m not athletic, so I haven’t been kicking the soccer ball around the back yard with him. I couldn’t help him learn the rules even if I wanted to. Best I can accomplish is to toss a wiffle ball or a nerf football back and forth with him.
At the same time, if this is just his free spirited way, I don’t want to squash that or force him to participate in something he really isn’t interested in. If he isn’t worried about missing out on something, why should I be so worried about it?
Maybe he already understands something his old man is still struggling with.
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