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Home » Toddler

Persistence, Positivity, and Sportball

Submitted by on Sunday, 17 May 20092 Comments

We signed Smarty Pants up for Sportball classes a few weeks ago, and he was really excited about it.

If you haven’t heard of Sportball, picture a gathering of 3 to 5 year olds let loose in a room with a bunch of balls with an instructor singing and shouting positive chants as they romp around the room.  There is a magic line where the kids gather and shout, “We can do it!” whilst holding their thumbs high in the air.  Ideally the kids all stop when the instructor blows her whistle too.

positiveballA Sportball instructor in action is an amazing sight to see.  I cannot fathom how one can stay so consistently positive and patient for an entire hour, whilst getting hit with balls, facing disobedience, and trying to teach young kids something about ball sports, when all they want to do is run around and cause a ruckus.

When I took Smarty Pants to his first Sportball class, I thought I would have it easy.  Just drop him off, give him a kiss goodbye, and come back an hour later to pick him up.  Well, unfortunately, he took a nap that day, and happened to wake up just before his class started.  So I dragged a drowsy, slightly cranky, boy to his first Sportball class.

When we got there, our overly cheery instructor slapped a name tag on his chest, saying, “Hey, welcome to Sportball big guy!!”  To which Smarty Pants promptly responded, “WHAAAHHHHHHH!!!”  We were off to a brilliant start.

I brought Smarty Pants out of the room to calm him down.  He wanted to go home.  “But you were really looking forward to Sportball” I reminded him.  He didn’t care.  He insisted we just go home.  “And you don’t want to come next week either?” I asked.  “No” he said.

I was about to go and ask for a refund right then and there, but something inside me said I should stick around a bit and let it all play out.  I think I was also curious to see how long the instructor could stay so positive and cheery, so thought it worthwhile to stay.

Smarty Pants and I sat there on the sidelines, watching the other kids as they sat on the magic line and learned that “Only the goalie can touch the ball with his hands” and, “When I blow the whistle, you stop.”   We observed, bemused, as the kids picked up the balls with their hands at every opportunity, and continued running around each time the whistle was blown.

This went on for about half an hour.  Every ten minutes I asked Smarty Pants if he wanted to join the rest of the kids.  The answer was always a firm “No.”

Then, suddenly, without any word or warning, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, he just got up, grabbed a ball, and started playing with the others.  It was like a ray of sunshine after a thundery storm.  Night had turned into day, and everything was fine.  This boy, who, just thirty minutes earlier, wanted to go home and never come back, was suddenly having the time of his life.  A week later, he went again and had a great time as well.

It just goes to show you how quickly things can change with kids.  Maybe the instructor’s positivity rubbed off on him, maybe he got over his tiredness and crankiness, maybe he got a leg cramp from sitting down for so long and needed to shake it off.  We’ll never know… but that’s the point.  With kids, you never really know.  All I know is I  learned that you just gotta stick with things sometimes, weather the storm, and head for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  With kids, it is often worth it.  Now everyone put your thumbs way up high and say, “We’re the best!!”

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  • Bonnie says:

    Ain’t that the truth. And I have done exactly what you did. Let them watch all the fun that is going on. Usually it works. At the least, it gives some nice time for contemplation for them seeing what they are missing.

    Bonnie’s last blog post..Hard working man

  • Head Jammer says:

    @Bonnie – yeah, I figured, just stick with it and he’ll come around… there’s no way he can watch other kids playing ball sports without wanting to jump in there eventually!

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