A League Of Their Own
Small kids need to be kept active and engaged. This is especially true when they enter toddlerhood. So, as soon as we were able to, we signed B up for as many sports and sport classes as we could. We’ll do the same for J. Gotta get their participaction on, yo!
The first team sport that we signed B up for was soccer. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I asked around before he started, and the general consensus that I got was to expect a lot of dandelion picking. I thought that sounded dumb….until about halfway into his first practice, I saw B sitting on the ground, plucking dandelions. This trend has continued throughout the years. Not just at soccer, but into other sports, too. I swear, in the middle of basketball one time, in the middle of winter, he somehow found a flower. Luckily, everyone was right, and other kids do have the same gardening interests. I can’t hate on that. However, I’ve also been around enough games and practices with B to make some other observations. See, when it comes to sports, I’ve noticed that children tend to fall into one of the following categories:
Now, most kids fall into this group. They dutifully show up, and, despite your constant encouragement, spend more time goofing off than actually playing the sport. Then, just when you feel the same way that you felt at the end of the series finale of Dexter (annoyed, frustrated, regretful etc. Or maybe that was just me?), they’ll do something competent out of the blue, like score a goal or hit a nice shot. As a parent, this gets your hopes up, that perhaps your child ‘gets it’ now, and the rest of the season will be more productive…..but then they go right back to goofing off. Aww, kids. They’re such teases.
This is that naturally gifted, athletically advanced phenom who is waaay better than everyone else, and loves it. The 5 year old who easily goes end to end, and scores 25 goals a game at will. The 4 year old with the killer crossover and picture perfect jump shot. When you watch them, you picture a mini Gretzky/Ronaldo/Lebron…until you hear their parents screaming at them to stop picking their nose and eating it. Regardless, if you happen to have a PRODIGY on your child’s team, force your kid to befriend him or her. Teach them that being in an entourage is a lucrative profession. What? The PRODIGY is clearly going places in their life. One of their childhood buddies needs to drive them there, right?
This kid has the same positive attitude as a prodigy, but lacks any of the required skill. They are the ones you see constantly tripping on their feet, or running head-first into other CONGENIALITIES. Despite their suckiness, they still happily follow instructions, and try real hard. If you have a FLIRT, you might as well point out a CONGENIALITY to them, because they could learn a thing or two about being a good sport. Actually, that back-fired on us with B, at soccer. He would see the other go-getters raising their hands at whatever the coach asked, so he started doing it, too. Sometimes even before the coach finished his thought. It was like buzzing in for Jeopardy, before Alex Trebek had said the answer. Anyway, B became that kid who was always the
first only one to volunteer to sit off. Good times, spending my Saturday mornings watching B gleefully sitting on his butt.
CRYERS are like little walking time bombs. They show up, clinging to their parents. Eventually, they build up some courage to venture out onto their own. But then, something sets them off (ie. the grass is too green, the ice is too cold, the PRODIGY won’t pass to them), and the waterworks start flowing. They then spend the remaining time on the sidelines, quivering messes, clutching mommy or daddy. Until treat time, of course. Then the tears suddenly stop and they’re good to go again.
THE (WRONG) GAMER
This is the child who would much rather be playing anything else. They are probably there against their will, so they act accordingly. The soccer player who hates soccer. The T-ball player who likes to play video games only. You get the idea. They’re the only kid who knows what ‘non-refundable’ means, since their parents are trying to get their money’s worth for the all of the league and equipment costs. A (WRONG) GAMER will exert as little effort as possible and play with a constant scowl on their face, like their mean muggin’.
Unlike the FLIRT, where there is a ray of sunlight behind the screwing around, with a (WRONG) GAMER, sorry mom and dad, there’s no hope here. They are also known as a ONE AND DONE, since they won’t be back next season.
THE DANNY ALMONTE
Uh oh! Somebody check the birth certificate! Whereas a PRODIGY is head and shoulders, skill-wise, above the other kids on the team, a DANNY ALMONTE is literally head and shoulders above them. Named after the dude who killed it in the Little League World Series one year, but was actually 14 years old, and not 12 like his parents said, they are not necessarily PRODIGIES per se. They just appear to be bigger and older, which is used to their advantage. This causes you and the other parents mutter to each other about why this kid who is supposed to be six years old is wearing a training bra. Or has a mustache. Or something like that. Nonetheless, until discredited, they are there for the same reason as your child, so you have to be nice to them. It’s not their fault they hit puberty while in pre-school. Unless, of course, you’re their parent and you did lie about their age. In that case….really? C’mon man.
I think that covers it.
Which category does your child belong in? For me, in my own totally non-biased opinion, B and J are definitely PRODIGIES, no doubt!
I’m accepting resumes for their future entourage members, by the way. There’s only one job requirement, too – must like dandelions.