Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Reluctant Runners.

In-house cross country meet.



The kids' school is very big on sports, whether you like them or not. 

Coming from a background of athletics my whole life, I applaud the sentiment, but part of me resents the amount of time they devote to promoting sports during school hours.  It's purely economics.  I'd rather the massive sums we pay in tuition be utilized for more time on math, science and reading.  That's it.  Keep the recesses and gym classes to burn off energy.  Those kids that want to play sports, should do it after school as part of their extra curriculars. 

That's what we did.  I played tennis, softball, rugby.  I joined the ski club in the winters and even played some basketball to keep occupied.  But we did it after school.  And we didn't drag kids into it kicking and screaming.

What we used to call Field Day, now takes two full days of pageantry during the day.  There's races, and races and races.. and odd sorts of races for those kids that don't actually like running.  Think walking with a tennis racket and balancing a ball.  There's also this cross country meet which every child must practice for at gym class and then perform one morning before parents and spectators.  They time the kids to try and improve their scores. See that field out there in the back?  They have to run it twice.  It probably works out to about a half mile, slightly more.  There's also a huge  all morning swim gala (I was there last year - the nurse brought Jordan over to me after he competed because he complained of dizziness), and an in house soccer tournament (days and weeks).

All of this occurs during school hours with much fanfare and awards given out during school assemblies.  The kids get all riled up and the winning "house" gets awarded a plaque to display under their house name in the gym.  Yes, the kid are grouped into houses.  Very Harry Potter. 

Needless to say, if you're a sporty type of kid, this is fabulous.

If you're Mina, it pretty much sucks.

She looks very brave up there, but when I arrived at the field, she was sobbing.

Poor kiddo.  I don't fully understand it, since the two of us have run together several times before.  She always seemed to enjoy that.  Maybe it's the competition.  Maybe it's the fuss.  Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't shine at sports the same way she does socially  or academically in the classroom.  She's a perfectionist, alas.

I think it's a shame, since running for me has been such a cathartic and enjoyable experience.  The way it's promoted so heavily in the schools here has turned Mina off to it.  I think back to my sports, and I distinctly recall coaches using running as a punishment.  If you were goofing off or not following the game plan - you did laps.  It wasn't until later in life that I realized running was fun in and of itself.

Maybe Mina will get there ... on her own time... once she learns the only person she has to compete with is herself.


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