Cheerleader Mom


I am not an athletic person 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.

However, even though I hated contact sports, I had to play at school. 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 and high school.

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

Regardless that I haven’t set foot in a gym since I was in my twenties, I believe in its benefits on children. Undeniably, kids are branded with a competitive drive that boosts their confidence and contributes to their success later in life.

Thus, because I married a sports and work-out nut job, we started our son in sports at age three. Needless to say it was a disaster; between his asthma and lack of coordination, those activities quickly became a torture for all of us! But when he turned five six months ago, something clicked, and it seems that my husband’s genes are finally overpowering mine.

Taekwon-do for Kids

Out of all sports I prefer individual disciplines over team ones, like martial arts. Even though the kids practice together they are evaluated based on their own performance. This is why Taekwondo-do has made an impact on our son. Every week he looks forward to what he calls “Super Hero Class” at Titus Taekwon-do Institute. He is a high energy kid and he benefits from the fun coaching and the military style “Yes Sir, No Sir!

Nevertheless, as fun as the kicking and jumping is, the dept of Taekwon-do teaches perseverance and integrity. Regardless of skills, this sport rewards time put in, sacrifice, and commitment. Therefore, a promotion–changing your belt color–is a big deal.

A few months ago my son was selected to advance from yellow to green belt in the minis category. The promotion was a test in front of judges and his instructor in which the kids showed the skills learned in class. Throughout the entire hour, I twitched in my seat and got desperate at times.

It was worse than watching a Soccer World Cup Playoffs game–without the cursing. 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. But despite my concerns he received his green belt.

A new promotion is coming up (from mini-green to mini-blue belt) and my son is already anxious to get the invitation. When he asks about it I use those moments to remind him that he must avoid goofing around in class or missing the instructions.

Even at his young age, my son already knows that in life and in sports, nothing comes easy, and triumph is earned sweating drop by drop.

For the moment I will continue to train my heart so I can coach my son in life with my endless love. I will always be his number one fan, cheering with color pom poms 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

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119

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