My son is a lot of things.
He’s an artist, a comedian, a reader, and brilliant at making paper airplanes.
He’s a Star Wars aficionado, a Lego-pro, and a video game wizard.
He’s likeable and clever, has great rhythm and a huge heart.
But he can’t whistle. And he’s not athletic.
Tonight at midnight is the deadline to register children into the local house soccer league. All I have to do is open up a web page, log in and enter my credit card number.
There’s still time. I can still make the cutoff.
But I won’t. Not this year.
When he was five it was cute to watch him chase the ball down the field, turn the other way, stop, then summersault for no good reason. It was funny watching him and his buddies hanging off the nets like sweaty, colourful little bugs tangled in a web.
While the summersaults are less frequent, the other kids are playing to win, and he’s playing for orange slices. He’s never scored a goal, and it’s starting to bother him. His friends won’t pass to him, and I get it. They want to win, and he’s far from a sure thing.
He’s taken a ball to the face once or twice, and is now a bit gun shy. He isn’t interested in practicing at home, and when other boys are racing onto the field at recess and lunch, he’s hanging off the monkey bars, swinging, and playing pretend.
That’s where he’s happiest.
There are so many other things that my son is that it seems ridiculous to spend a moment worrying about what he isn’t. But when you’re raising little boys there’s an expectation that you’ll do your utmost to raise athletes, something that’s reinforced whenever we meet anyone new.
“So, do you play hockey? Basketball?”
He’ll answer, “I’m in karate,” which he is, but his biggest takeway from the dojo to date is learning how to count to 10 in Japanese.
Tomorrow. Maybe he’ll find a sport he’s passionate about, tomorrow. Maybe he’ll be captured by curling, throw his heart and soul into a martial art. Maybe he’ll lace up his skates and opt for ice dancing.
Or maybe he won’t.
Anything’s possible, but I’ll wait and take direction from him. I’m tired of pushing. I’m tired of my own expectations, and I expect he is, too.
So, no, this spring you won’t find us on the ball diamond or the pitch. We’ll be in the front yard, riding bikes, shooting hoops and tossing paper airplanes into the cherry tree. And I’m OK with it, as long as he is.