Q: Despite his great enthusiasm, my 9-year-old is the worst player on his little league baseball team. Should I just shrug and cheer him on, or suggest he try a new sport?
A:There are a few key questions you need to ask yourself here.
- Is it more than an awkward phase — does he truly stink at the sport?
- Do you hate baseball more than cold-sore flare-ups and political ads?
- Do you have to drive through 5 o’clock traffic to get him to practice?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then branching out into, say, tumbling or Mandarin Chinese, may be warranted. But if he really loves baseball, then suck it up, sister. We all can’t be good at sports. Heaven knows I look like an idiot on the treadmill, but there I am, day after day, blithely running on that evil contraption.
Also, at the age of 9, most boys are either entering their gangly, all-arms-and-legs phase or are chunking up prior to their overnight, massive growth spurt. (The spurt typically hits the day before Easter when he needs to wear his one pair of dressy pants that are now three inches too short and make him look like Rodney Dangerfield.)
What a boy his age needs is to be out there. It doesn’t really matter what he’s doing or if he is doing it well, just that he is doing it and enjoying it. This is the age when they start pulling out of stuff, deciding between what they really like and what dad wants them to like.
If he’s into it, keep at it. He’ll either get better or start stinking it up so bad that he’s getting ribbed about it or is embarrassed. Until then, pack your lawn chair and camouflage your wine cooler, mom, cause your going to the ballpark.
And lastly, if we have learned nothing else from Richard Simmons (which is a pretty safe bet), it is that enthusiasm, not talent, skill or taste, can take you very far indeed.
Jeanne Martin is a freelance writer and graphic designer by day, one sarcastic mother of two by dusk and completely unqualified to write this advice column at any time