Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New generation wins

I have always been interested in sports. I guess I got that interest from my dad's dad. I was always watching sports on TV. My dad, on the other hand, was never interested in sports.

When my son, Justin, was born almost 17 years ago, I vowed to do what I could to get him into sports as much as I was as a kid. Guess what? He had no interest.

Sure, I coached his soccer and baseball teams while he was in grade school, but he was into the social aspect more than anything else. A small part of me was sad, but Justin had other interests, such as music. He is a great piano player and plays the trumpet in the high school band.

Several years ago, he started to watch tennis on TV. You have to know Justin. When he gets into something, he goes 100 percent. I heard more than I care to about all the world's top players. And he began to learn the sport by watching it on the tube.

And yet, he had never picked up a racket. Then last year, for his 16th birthday, I bought two cheap rackets and some tennis balls. He and I hit the court down the street.

Justin had never been a great athlete. The desire has never been there. I, on the other hand, loved and played them all. Baseball, football, basketball, and yes, even hockey. I tried tennis a few times, but never really enjoyed it. I was more into team sports.

So Justin and I hit the court, and as expected, I whipped him pretty badly. And yes, he got discouraged quickly, but I gave him some tips and told him not to give up. By fall, we were having some very competitive matches.

The last time we played in the fall, I had the match won, but let it slip away. He had beaten Dad. I was so happy for him. He had shown determination in wanting to get better. And improve he did.

We have played four times already this spring and I have yet to beat him. Now he is the one giving me tips. I knew eventually he would beat me. I didn't know it would be so soon.

And that's OK. It's a combination of him improving and me slowing down a tad. We have always been close, but playing tennis has brought us even closer.

The point is you can try to lead your kids in one direction, but never push. Let them find their own way. You never know where it will lead. It may lead to an activity that interests both of you.

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