Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Play Ball! Part 2: Lessons from Moriarty
This past year I read a good book by Liane Moriarty. Actually I read every book by Liane Moriarty after being wowed by Big Little Lies. The story relevant to this discussion, however, is What Alice Forgot - the tale of a woman with amnesia who finds herself jumped forward in her life 10 years, sorting through what her life has become and struggling to understand how she has come to be where she is. As she picks up the reins on the life of her older self she is at times dumbfounded by the choices she seems to have made, by what she has allowed to happen. Without great thought she acts to corrects Older Alice's blunders. After a single afternoon watching her oldest child's misery at sport practice she removes the child from the team. She will [spoiler alert] remember it all. She will recall why enforced sports participation seemed like a good idea; however, in that moment it is a simple straight forward matter and it is obvious what needs to be done.
I am not sure when I let youth sports become My Battle. I am sure of one thing, though -- it is a simple straight forward matter and it is obvious what needs to be done. Yes indeed, Mr. Gaiman, Alice did provide not just an escape, but a meaningful and educational one.
This past Fall my youngest played youth football and my oldest sat with me on the sidelines. The world did not end. He chose to try soccer instead where he had fun and struggled. At times the struggling outweighed the fun. His particular place on the autism spectrum means he has many real challenges to success with physical activities. Now that he is getting older he is actually noticing, "Hey! Everyone else is doing better than me!". He feels the frustration of working just as hard as everyone but yielding poor results.
Physical activity is still important. I'm not giving him permission to do what his heart most desires and become a total couch potato. I am acknowledging, however, that baseball with all its fine motor intricacies is not the smartest place for us to put our energies. And I know that my younger self would say, "Duh."