Well when we had our first son, the thought of him taking a gymnastics class was not even in the realm of my thinking. I had never even given it a thought as I’d chalked up baseball as the would-be sport de choix (not sure why I chose to use a French translator for ‘sport of choice’).
Don’t think of me as a close-minded father. I grew up playing baseball and…baseball. There was a brief run-in with basketball in middle school but I broke my wrist in a practice and decided to call it a career. Levittown, NY, a town in Long Island, was a baseball powerhouse. It was also the first truly mass-produced suburb in America and acted as a blueprint for postwar suburbs throughout the country. But the one thing a majority of the kids in town had at the top of their hobby list was baseball.
So naturally baseball was what my son would want to play. He played tee-ball this past spring and soccer a few years ago and showed mild interest in baseball but not soccer (he’s interested in soccer again now that his friends from school are all playing). Soccer started two days before gymnastics but because we missed the first week (it’s once a week) we would owe a late fee which was more than half the price of the actual sign-up fee. Kind of ridiculous.
So, like many Americans every four years (who are we kidding, Summer Games > Winter Games), he developed an affinity for the Olympics. The Olympic sport he was most excited about was gymnastics and he expressed his interest in trying it out.
We went over the the local gymnastics gym (gym?) for an open house a few weeks before the class actually began and he got to do some forward rolls, jump along the tumble track, walk the balance beam. You get the picture.
For a few weeks we asked him if he was sure he wanted to do gymnastics. It’s not cheap ($60 a month for a once-a-week, hour-long class) and we aren’t exactly flush with extra money. We explained that it was a big commitment (year-round) and they need a month notice if he wants to stop. By no means were we trying to dissuade him from doing it, rather informing him that he couldn’t just flake out on it. (Neither Linds nor I are sure what the endgame of gymnastics is, but we’ll let you know when we figure it out.)
Last night was his first class and he had a blast. There were 9 or 10 kids in his class along with two instructors. They stretched for a good 15 minutes before splitting them into two groups, where they eventually got into the actual gymnastics aspect. Nolan was champing at the bit with a huge smile on his face the entire time. When the instructor spoke to him, he was giddy with excitement.
He was atop whatever thing he’s shown jumping off of in the picture above and couldn’t stand still while his “coach” asked him to do a certain type of jump. The first one he landed on his knees and thought it was awesome. Then he was told to try landing on his feet and he proceeded to stick the final two jumps. I was pretty impressed and I think his coach was as well and Nolan was ecstatic.
So, despite us still thinking gymnastics is pretty pointless, he had a great time and I got a pretty decent shot of Air Nolan mid-flight.
Like I said, I had hopes for baseball being his choice of sport but I’ll support whatever hobbies he chooses, sports or not.
He is a hell of a dancer, loves singing, clearly enjoys gymnastics, has a ridiculously expansive imagination, engulfs himself in trains, excels at hula-hooping. He’s only 5-years-old. He’ll make decisions based on a whim, figure out what he enjoys and what he doesn’t, and remain carefree.
To be young.