Zeke, on the other hand, could care less about the win. He is the strong, silent and creative type. He wants to be good, but unfortunately he has inherited his parents’ aptitude for any game - none at all. He has a great long and lanky stature and could probably physically handle any sport, but he just lacks the drive. There were many times last winter when I drove him to basketball practice whining, afraid to be embarrassed or laughed at. Most days, I had to bribe him with treats (the kind his diabetic brother is not allowed to have). The first day of practice, the whole thing overwhelmed him so badly that he panicked and ended up crying in the bathroom with me. I had to bribe him with ice cream to try to get him to go out there and try. I knew that would work and it did.
So you are probably asking - "Why don’t you just let Rocco play and Zeke watch?” Or “They are twins but are two separate people and don’t have to do the same thing every time". And finally, the obvious one "If you make him play, you will screw up his self esteem".
Ok even if you didn't think these thoughts, I did. I’ve had moments when I wanted to grab him, bubble wrap him and never let him touch another ball again. Heck with it! Many great men never played sports.
However, then my thoughts went old school. Pretend to hear an old man's voice while you read the next few lines:
"Just throw him in, he'll be fine".
"If you let him quit everything, he will grow up to be a quitter".
"He's six! He doesn't know what he wants".
"He needs to man up and just overcome his fears".
And finally my husband’s wise advice: "When I was a kid, we didn't get a choice. If we sucked, we just kept practicing until we got better".
So I kind of went with the last comment. There have been many tears but also tons of wins and highs for Zeke along the way. He’s not a superstar but by the last game he thought he was. That was actually my goal the whole time. In the long run, I was glad I didn't let him quit.
In the spring, t-ball had gone the exact same way - tears, bribes and wins. And now that the new basketball season is upon us, my husband, Zeke and I decided to sign him up again to play with Rocco. Zeke said "Sign me up mom - that was fun last year!"
However, I find that it is again like pulling teeth to get Zeke to practice. Every day, we go out to the driveway and do bounce pass and dribble drills. Zeke gamely tries, but it is not his passion. If I was being honest with myself, I would just honor the child that he is and not force him to be the child he is not. But I also feel there are so many opportunities for learning experiences with sports that he would miss if I just signed him up for an art class.
What do you think? Is the new-school way of thinking (just let them quit things that are not interesting to them) or the old school way (sink or swim) better? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.