Tuesday, June 5, 2012

for the love of sport

Lately, Josh seems to be breaking new ground everywhere and, as his mom, I felt I needed to…brag :-) So, I think this post is more for me than anyone else…

Part 1 - Biking

A couple of weeks ago, we finally decided it was time for Josh to get a new bike. I’ve been holding out because Josh never seemed to want to ride a bigger bike. Every time I offered up a bigger bike to ride, like my sis’ kid’s bikes while we were in NY, he would say he didn’t want to go bike riding. This boggled my mind because the kid is obsessed with biking! That, coupled with the fact that he was still enjoying his current bike made me hold off on getting him a new bike. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Well, the shift in my decision making process came on the day that I saw Josh riding his bike home alongside a classmate from pre-school. This boy is almost a year younger than Josh, so he is smaller than Josh. He was riding a bike that was much bigger than Josh’s - and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Josh should have had the bigger bike. All I’m saying is that this boy looked proportionate to his bike. It made me realize that Josh was disproportionately large for his wee bike. It reminded me clowns riding on tricycles. OK, I exaggerate, but that thought did cross my mind.

I talked to Josh about buying a new bike and he liked the idea. So, off we went to the bike store to buy a new bike. They “measured” Josh for a bike and said he should be riding a 20” bike (I discovered that is the TT - top tube - measurement, btw). Josh’s existing bike was a 12” bike. Ha.

From the selection of bikes he was shown, Josh chose a bmx bike. Ugh. We brought it outside for a test ride. At that point, Josh said he didn’t want to ride it. Duh, Mommy! It took all that for me to finally realize that Josh was afraid to try a bigger bike! He hasn’t wanted to try to ride a bigger bike all this time because he was afraid. I can be so dense sometimes!

The bike guy and I managed to coax Josh onto this bike. The guy made adjustments as Josh sat on it so he could get comfortable. When he finally felt ready, Josh took a go on the bike. He rocked it. (Secretly, his mom knew he would :-) Even the bike guy was surprised at how quickly Josh adapted to the new bike. He said that often it takes time for kids to adjust to a new bike - it’s bigger and different. He seemed genuinely impressed. And Josh was genuinely impressed with the bike! From that point, he had no problem hopping on other bikes to test ride. But eventually, he had to choose, and he chose the original bmx bike that he first hopped on. Good choice, kid!

He hasn’t looked back since. Actually, that’s not true. He looked back once at his old bike seat. We had to replace the new bmx bike seat (it is true bmx seat that is permanently tilted back) with the adjustable seat from his old bike. The tilt wasn’t comfortable for him and didn’t realize it until he rode around a bit more.

So, Josh has taken his new bike to the terrain park and all-wheel park (bowls and stuff). He is starting to catch air as he comes over the lip of the bowl. Ugh. Did I really think this was a good idea?! But we all rode our bikes to the Hyack parade last week and Josh enjoyed street riding, too. It truly is fun riding bikes with Josh! It was definitely a worthwhile investment!

Oh, and incidentally, I need to mention that this new bike doesn't have pedal brakes.  It only has hand brakes.  Josh was fine with this too and was quite pleased to have a bike like mommy and daddy where you can pedal backwards as much as you want!

Part 2 - Basketball

Now, on to basketball. We have a Little Tikes plastic basketball hoop in the yard that Josh likes to play around with. Nothing serious. In fact, he doesn’t play with it that much at all.

Last Sunday, I took Aves to ballet and at that same time, the community centre has the gym set up for wee one play time. The community centre is near a friend’s house (this is how we found out about ballet class there) and they take their daughter on Sunday mornings.

So, after we dropped off Aves in her class, Josh and I went to the gym to meet up with S and play for a bit. Josh was by far the oldest child there and perhaps a tad too old for the purpose of that play time. But he can always find things to amuse himself (after all, he IS a child, isn’t he?!). On this Sunday morning, it was basketball. They actually had the “normal” basketball hoop down and there happened to be a “normal” basketball laying around. Josh picked up the ball and started shooting hoops. Who knew the kid could throw the ball that high?

For many reasons - like I’m 5’1”, non-basketball-playing and his mom - me being impressed is not a huge stretch. However, Josh did capture the attention of a dad that was there with his toddler. The dad came over and started shooting hoops with Josh (don’t worry, the toddler’s mom was there, too!). I’m not sure what it was that make me so proud that Josh inspired the guy to come over. After playing with him for a bit, out of the blue, the guy mentioned to me that Josh seemed like a natural athlete. Nice. For me as a mom, it truly warms my heart when a complete stranger pays my child a genuine compliment.

Part 3 - Tennis

One thing I didn’t mention in Part 1 is that perhaps Josh rode his new bike a bit too much. Adjusting to the size of his new bike took it’s toll on Josh and after a few days, he started to complain of leg pain around his groin area. So, we suggested a break from the bike.

On Saturday, since he couldn’t ride his bike, Josh picked up the tennis racket that V&S lent to him. He asked me to play tennis. Normally, when Josh and I “play tennis”, he gets me to hold the racket and he catches the ball while I hit it softly. I’m not sure why he preferred to not hit with the racket, but que sera sera.

Bri recently cleaned out our storage area and found my tennis racket. Yay! Now that we both had rackets, Josh had no excuse to not have a racket. We would both get to hit.

I decided to take him to the tennis courts at the local park. He seemed to think that was pretty cool. He asked to go again on Sunday. Today, he asked to go again. Yup, pretty cool.

As far as hitting goes, I’m trying to pull what I learned from tennis lessons from the recesses of my brain so I can teach him. I remember a lot of hitting from the centre of the court while Wally, my instructor, stood just on the other side of the net, throwing (not hitting) the balls to me. I did that with Josh and he asked, “Mommy, why aren’t you hitting my balls back?”. Ha.

Josh seemed to have fun doing this and, honestly, I did too. I’m finding I have the patience to teach him tennis. We even got to the point where I was hitting some of his balls back and he could hit it back to me. Yay!

And then on Sunday afternoon, as we were wrapping up tennis, I think Josh wanted it to be known that he wasn’t the only natural athlete in the family :-) I overheard this conversation between him and Bri:

J: Daddy, can you play tennis too?
B: Yeah, I can play too.
J: Who’s better? You or mommy?
B: Hmmm…I think mommy is a better tennis player than me.
J: (pauses) Daddy, mommy is really good at tennis.


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