Becoming an athlete

My youngest child definitely moves to the beat of a different drummer. He’s the kid who played soccer for two years, but would get bored about halfway through and walk the rest of the game. No amount of encouragement could convince the kid to run another step.

He has absolutely no interest in soccer anymore. Or baseball, football, hockey, lacrosse or any organized sport that most of his peers are playing.

Right now he has two activities: Hip Hop and Chess-and-Math class. And, if he had to pick one, Chess-and-Math would win.

But, I also don’t want him to think that he can’t be an athlete just because he enjoys different pursuits. This isn’t as easy an idea to promote when, even by the age of 6, kids are encouraged to try out for sports teams before it is “too late”. And though he can kick ass on a bicycle and is thrilled to be taking a boys’ gymnastics class this summer, he does have some fine motor skills issues that need work (he see an occupational therapist during the school year).

Late yesterday, we went to a very cool track-and-field meet for kids of all ages and abilities just to check it out. There were heats in javelin, shotput, long jump and then a few running races.


D gamely joined the boys “ages 6 and under” at the javelin and long jump, though he’d never done either before. Then, prior to the running races, they handed out ribbons for first, second and third place for each age group.

When his name was called for “second place: javelin” we all cheered as he smiled ear-to-ear. He immediately asked me for a pen so he could write his name on his ribbon.

When they announced “second place, long jump” and called his name, I saw his little fist pump into the air in jubilation.

There were two more participatory ribbons, in 50m and 100m, though D proudly announced, “I was last! But those other kids were FAST!”


I just love that my overly critical little guy didn’t equate “last” with “worst”. And that he can’t wait to go back for next week’s track meet.


  1. Julie Marsh says

    Aw, congrats to your little guy! He went out there and gave it a shot, which is awesome in and of itself.

    One of the reasons I love individual sports is the chance to compete against ourselves. My girls strive to beat their own times in swimming, and if they end up placing, that's a bonus!

  2. That is awesome! Good for you for letting him explore such a wide range of activities to find what he really enjoys. And for helping him to keep such a great attitude! My daughter is 6 too and already gets very discouraged when her soccer team doesn't win. I have to say – she happens to be on a team that never wins, and I can understand why that would be discouraging – but I don't know how to make her move past that and just focus on the fun of playing.

  3. Nan | WrathOfMom says

    What a good kid! He has a great attitude. And a lovely smile.

  4. Outstanding! Amazing how he thinks!

  5. Aunt Barb says

    Way to go little man!

  6. YEAH, D! I think our two little guys, despite our efforts to involve them in organized team sports, may find their strengths in individual-based competition: running, gymnastics, tennis, or swimming. Doing your best may result in winning a medal, or coming in last, but so glad he knows it only matters that he has a blast.

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