Sports Fan

XiomaraSpadaforaGeniusMomI am not an athletic woman now nor when I was growing up. Not only did I not like sports, but my home country was not very supportive of anything besides soccer for boys back in the eighties. Also, my mom had to work full time to support us, so she didn’t have the time or means to sign me up for extracurricular activities.

Therefore, my exercise was playing with my neighbors in the street every afternoon after school. Hide and seek, water wars, and other childhood games were the improvised “meets” without safety nets or participation trophies.

Nonetheless, I had to play sports at school, but always against my will. Because I was one of the tallest girls in my class—I have been 5’7’’ since I was 13–the coaches always chose me to play basketball in grade school and high school, even though I hated contact sports.

I remember finishing every game with a couple of sprained fingers that looked like Italian sausages, swollen and purple-grayish. Yikes!

But, it is a fact. Kids who play sports during childhood are “branded” with a competitive drive that boosts their confidence and contributes to their success later in life. I for one, didn’t get it, and I think that is the reason why I am not ambitious. I have always been happy to be on the side lines instead of the field. My goal is to find a comfortable place in the shade to sit and watch the game.

However, now that my son is almost five years old and enjoys sports,  I want him to benefit from the competitive spirit. Thank God he definitely has my husband’s athleticism and determination, otherwise the poor kid would be doomed!

Taekwon-do for kids

Last Saturday was his chance to shine. My son tried out for the green belt in his Mini Taekwon-do program. He enjoys going to Titus Taekw-on-do Institute very much and has called it “Super Heyo (hero) Class” since he started last year. Until now, it has been an incredible experience for him, thanks to the fun coaching and the discipline—military style “Yes Sir, No Sir!” answers.

Still, he is the youngest in his class, and it has taken him a little bit longer to get his moves, balance and coordination under control. In addition, he goofs around and misses some of the instructions.

After the initial salutation, the test started. Even though I am proud of my baby, I caught myself criticizing him for not doing the moves as well as his class mates. Throughout the entire hour, I twitched in my seat and got desperate at times.

It was worse than watching a soccer game for the World Cup Playoffs. I even stared at my son and wished I were Aladdin’s Genie so I could cast a spell on him to perform to perfection.

Suddenly, when I looked away, he did some kicks that earned him praise from the coach. My husband looked at me and said, “See? You have to leave him alone!” and he was right. In that moment, I realized two things. First, I don’t have telepathic powers because I am not a genie—a witch, maybe, sometimes–and second, no matter how much I want my son to do things right, he has to learn how by himself.

Whether playing sports, or getting good grades in school later on, he will have to put forth the effort if he wants to succeed. In life, nothing comes easy, and triumph is earned drop by drop, just like sweat.

All I know is that I will always be his number one fan, cheering on the side lines.( I wasn’t cheer captain in high-school for nothing.) I might not be good at sports, but I sure as heck can dance!

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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