Thursday, September 25, 2008

The sporting life

From the death-knell-to-conversation topic of gifted kids, let’s move on to something lighter – sports!

This is one area where I defer to Kenneth completely. My close friends will know that I am no athlete. I have no ball sense, I have no stamina and I can’t run to save my life. Throw me into the sea and I'll drown. In school, I was probably the only person in class (maybe in the whole school) who preferred a maths lesson (in fact, any lesson) over PE. Oh, I know all the health benefits, so spare me the lecture. That’s the reason why I try to make it to my step aerobics and kick boxing classes twice a week. But even after four years, IT DOESN’T GET EASIER. Sure, I can now complete a session without feeling like I'm going to pass out, but it's still a struggle to motivate myself to go. I’d much rather curl up on the sofa and do my logic puzzles or play Prolific on Facebook.

But it doesn’t have to be like mother, like child, right? For health reasons and to build character, Kenneth and I had agreed early on that we should encourage our kids to participate in some sort of sporting activity or other. Swimming was the obvious choice at first. Afterall, the biggest plus about staying in a condominium is having a pool within the estate. The swimming teacher gave lessons at the condo pool so that was ultra convenient.

Most kids take up group swimming lessons – we put ours on individual lessons. We’re not elitist or anti-social, it’s actually for pragmatic reasons. You might think you get a better deal with group lessons, since individual lessons cost about three times as much. But here’s the tip: They also learn three times as quickly. I know kids who have been learning how to swim for years and still haven’t passed the survival test. Both our kids earned their Bronze survival badges within about a year of lessons. If you do your sums, you’ll find that you actually pay about the same amount of fees and save a whole lot of time.

Aside: does anyone else think it's strange that the survival test is done in pyjamas? I mean, what are the chances that when your cruise ship sinks, you're actually wearing your jammies? In fact, how many people actually own a pair of pyjamas like that?

Ok, musing over. When Lesley-Anne passed her Bronze survival test at p2, she decided she didn’t want to continue with the Silver and Gold. We went with her decision because the objective was to learn how to swim, not to collect medals. The question was what sport should she take up next?

Again, convenience ruled. Every Wednesday evening, an outsourced instructor gives tae-kwon-do lessons at our condo estate and we thought learning a martial art might be good for self-defence. Lesley-Anne didn’t object, so tae-kwon-do it was. However, I have since realised that due to their size and lack of power, kids are unlikely to be able to fend off adult opponents even if they are adept at tae-kwon-do. So I’ve told Lesley-Anne, “If ever you meet an assailant, forget about your tae-kwon-do training. Just knee him in the groin and RUN.”

Andre followed in the same route and today, both of them are still taking weekly tae-kwon-do lessons. Lesley-Anne is currently at the brown-black belt level (last one before junior black belt) and Andre at the blue belt level. This picture was taken much earlier on when they were green and white belts respectively.

Andre takes to sport like a fish to water. To date, there’s no sport he has tried that he hasn’t enjoyed. His passion right now is badminton, which he’s undergoing coaching for at school. But over the years, he has tried countless other types of sports, from table tennis to bowling. Here he is at a soccer clinic organised by our church.

Here he is (he was only 5 then) at the golf driving range.

Even the F1!! (Can you believe they had this cool simulator tryout for free at Popular bookshop?)

Andre’s no future Olympian but I’m glad he enjoys sports. At least I’m comforted to know he hasn’t inherited my sports dunce genes.


Lilian said...

You and Kenneth have a great partnership.

I am terrible at sports too. My primary classmates loved playing catching, but I'd only play Hide&Seek cos I just wanted to Hide, not much active running needed. Looks like the boys take after me :(

monlim said...

But they probably have your brains too :)

Lilian said...

Oh dear...I should hope not!

bACk in GERMANY said...

Congrats Monica! In less a month, this blog has been viewed over 1000 times! People just love controversies, don't they?

Thanks for making every post a thought-provoking one for me. Indeed, an unexamined life is not worth living.

On swimming... oh yes, that's the first and only class that my mom wanted my brother and me to attend. Yep, I thought about the pj's too... And I also thought about losing my nice shoes if there was a ship wreck... oh what the heck, we only had to learn how to swim.
Will certainly think about the 1-1 coaching session... Can't wait for my kids to swim laps with me!

monlim said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I have no yardstick so I've no idea if 1,000 visits in under a month is good (esp since a lot of those are probably my own!)

I'm so envious you can swim! I tried to learn but it's harder when you're an adult. I've told my kids if there's a shipwreck, they have to wear pjs and throw me a float :D

Alcovelet said...

Monica, my whole family has this two left feet curse! So I send RK to swimming and aikido every week. It's not easy to train someone of their natural inclinations though! Great for you guys that you're all having fun!

monlim said...

How come all the mothers here seem to be unsporty? Hmm... I'm wondering about the correlation :D

Eunice said...

I am like you in that I'd rather read than run/swim/etc...unfortunately Sean takes after my husband who is very active. Swimming was the 1 thing I forced on him and he started at 2. I agree with you that a 1 on 1 coaching is better. They learn faster.Now, I shuttle him for his various activities and read while waiting for him!!!

monlim said...

Hey Eunice, great to hear from you!! It's good that Sean is active, it keeps him occupied in a good way. Isn't it typical the mums are the chauffeurs?

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