A few months ago, we took the decision to let my daughter keep attending one of her ballet classes even though she didn’t need to be there. She would have been repeating the syllabus she’d already learned in her senior class. But she liked the people and repeating the syllabus isn’t a bad thing as it helps reinforce your learning.
But my daughter has devoted all of her extra-curricular time to dance since the age of 6 and it means she’s been left behind with other sports. She’s one of those naturally sporty kids, but having done next to no sport at primary school and no extra curricular sport, her natural ability hasn’t been enough to get her into school teams. And she would like to be in school teams.
This year she’s been doing parkrun every week and she’s working hard to improve her times. She has also started running in the midweek with one of her friends. And she’s just taken the plunge and given up the ‘unnecessary’ ballet class to join an athletics club.
It’s the same club her brother goes to, although he is now in the specialist jumps group. For the next year, my daughter will be in a general group of other kids her age, before she specialises.
Many of the kids will have been there since the age of 9 or 10. There is a huge number of them. They all seem so confident and all seem to know each other. My daughter very vaguely knew two of them, but there was nobody there from her school (or even her primary school).
Seeing her stood there, alone in a large group, I had a real sense of deja vu. I’d watched my son in the exact same situation two years ago. In fact, it had probably taken over a year for him to fit in. He said he enjoyed being there, but I was never really sure as it didn’t look as though he did.
But he stuck it out and now look at him! The other week he did a long jump of over six metres for the first time. Six metres is considered something of a milestone in long jump and now everybody knows him and what he can do. Coaches past and present are going out of their way to congratulate him and to tell others about his achievements.
At school, he got the most points of anyone from his school in a regional competition, so teachers are congratulating him. One teacher said he expects my son to beat the school long jump record. It just so happens that this is my son’s aim and he has nearly three years left at school in which to do it. I have every confidence in him.
His jumps coach even said that, for a few years now, their club’s long jump has lagged behind their high jump. But now my son has come along and he is changing that.
He’s come a long way from that nervous boy who didn’t speak to anyone two years ago. I’m hoping my daughter can find her niche as an athlete too and find her way to shine like her brother.