Growing up, I pretty much played no sports. Yes, there was the incredibly embarrassing and horrific season I tried to play JV basketball in the seventh grade (true story: at the only game my parents came to watch, the coach didn't even play me). But I have worked hard to erase those memories. When I was younger I was active, though not athletic. Once high school rolled around I was only active in gym class (another true story: I took bowling at least twice for my high school gym class and didn't pass the athletic test so I was in the gym classes with the weaklings). After high school, when I was no longer forced to exercise, I never did. I never even thought at about.
It wasn't until the spring of 2001 that my sister mentioned to me that we should to the Danskin triathlon that summer that I decided to become active again. I did that triathlon, and promptly stopped exercising.
Now my husband, he grew up an athlete. He played baseball and basketball through his entire school career and in to college. After college he kept up with basketball as much as he could, but he was always more inclined towards being an athlete.
In the past few months I have decided to get more proactive about my health and started a regular exercise routine. My workouts don't always look the same and I take my exercise where I can get it (even if that means my strength training for the day is carrying my 50lb five year old a few blocks home).
Recently I started a weekly fitness class taught by a trainer and there are a handful of ladies in my class whom I adore and admire. The class pushes me to limits I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole if I were exercising on my own. Two women in my class are a mother and her 16 year old daughter. They have talked about the daughter's involvement in sports at school, like tennis and cross country running and I always find myself feeling a little jealous of this supportive family.
It occurred to me as I was chatting with the mother/daughter pair that raising children who grow to love being active usually requires parents who set the example, provide opportunities for their children and then support and encourage them through their endeavors. Now, my parents were happy for me when I tried to play sports, but in my recollection, I never really saw them being active nor do I remember them asking me, or even just pushing me, to participate in any activities.
I am fortunate that my husband knows how to "be an athlete" because I absolutely do not. I don't understand team sports, I don't know the rules to anything, I am totally oblivious. But what I DO know is that I want my girls to grow up in an atmosphere where fitness, and perhaps to that end, athletics, are important. Wading in to the waters of team sports is a little bit scary for me.
In Seattle we have an endless amount of opportunities to get the girls involved in classes and on teams. We have everything from circus school (yes, really) to gymnastics of every shape and form, to community centers that offer things like swimming lessons, dance classes (even break dancing!), basketball and tumbling, to martial arts, yoga, and soccer clubs. You name it, your kids can likely do it here.
I am excited to help the girls explore what they are interested in. This summer Iris went to a yoga camp each day for a week that she loved and she will continue to take classes this fall. We are signing Eloise up for a a fall soccer team (I will be a soccer mom!) and then both of them for swimming lessons. After those things are done we will see what else they want to do next and possibly move on to a different thing. I want to be careful not to over-schedule them, especially with Eloise being in school full time this year, but I think that will be a good amount. Almost all of it will be on the weekends during the fall.
Iris recently learned how to ride a bike (on her first try!) and so I am also looking forward to going with her on longer run/walks (for me) and bike rides (for her). The more the girls grow and the more athletic they become, the easier it gets to do things as a family, as well.
It's going to be a fun year!