Sunday, May 31, 2009

Loving discouragement

We spent the bulk of the day melting in the heat watching flag football. Both of our boys are healthy, both run really fast, and both have high energy levels, as witnessed by the constant chaos in our house.

Barley ran in a touchdown the length of the field today, and is a valiant addition to his team. Sharing his brother's high energy level, he has the added benefit of good ball handling skills.
He also has a strong aggressive streak. While it is certainly a problem at home, and occasionally at school, this natural aggression serves him well on the field. He doesn't shy away from all the kicking in soccer, and he will charge into a wall of other players to get a basketball or grab a football flag.

Teddy, on the other hand, used to keep a safe 2-foot distance between himself and the soccer ball at all times. He would trail after it when an opposing player had the ball, and he would actually BACK AWAY from the ball when it rolled toward him. The memory of getting hit in the chest or face stayed with him forever, and he could not play without thinking about the possible hurt.

So, rooting for Barley when he grabs a flag or makes a good play--easy.
Watching him play almost any sport--a lot of fun!
Encouraging him when his team is on a losing streak, or he is not playing as well--definitely the right thing to do.

Teddy on the other hand...

Sure, rooting for him when he plays well is still easy. But these moments are infrequent.
Watching him when he is goofing around instead of listening to coach, or simply avoiding the ball--not much fun at all.

And when he tells us he wants to quit a sport that he has shown little skill in, or has wasted most of the time spent at practice...well, that is where I am torn. Part of me feels like I should be boosting him up and telling him that if he works hard, he will get better.

But if it's not the right fit for him, encouraging him to stick with something he does not enjoy enough to put good effort into...well, that doesn't seem right either.

The really hard situation is when he says he wants to try a sport again, when he's not even showing me his best effort in the current season for that sport. We don't expect an all-star athlete--DH and I know we did not give him the genes for that. (Barley must have gotten lucky with some recessive sports-gene combination) We just want to know when we are getting sunstroke on the weekend, that there is really a good reason for us to be sitting there. Let's hope the play-offs go better than the season has so far.

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