Amir and Anissa Risper, 6th and 7th grade, in their cross country uniforms at Bath High School. They are running for Windemere Park Charter Academy. TNCP photo
I can not remember my mother ever signing me up for sports. Indeed she drove a station wagon but I think it was to cart the planting and gardening supplies she needed. I learned plenty of things from her but sports was not on the top of the list. She played tennis for a period of time and that was when they wore tiny shorts. I would marvel watching her fly gracefully across the court and when she was done she would put her brown khaki cover shaped like a tennis racquet emblazoned with "TIME" on it back on her wooden racquet. She was also a runner. Every morning she would wake up and run. She called it jogging but she looked like she was running to me. She had some medical procedure and stopped running. That happens sometimes, when something happens you decide that you are not going to go back to exercising. However, she did say that she misses it "running put all my curves back in the right place".
I tried to play basketball but I did not have the proper equipment (sneakers) or anyone to go to my games.
My dad was living in Brooklyn and my mother was always working. I am glad in a way that they did not push me. I was lazy. I could not stand working out let alone having someone slapping a ball out of my hands. Riding the bench was not all that fun either.
Can I say that I was not coordinated? Can I blame it on anyone but myself? I might add though that I was in the basketball picture for the yearbook. They take
the photos for yearbooks
early so that your uniform is clean and those who could not make it all the way through the season are still featured. I was number 25 and on the 8th grade basketball team. I was very bad at basketball though. Sports gave me a bad taste.
So when it came to sports for my children, I did not push them. Football for my son was totally out of the question. My husband did not want him to play and neither did I. I went to a Lansing youth football game and felt like I was waiting for a competitive boxing match to begin. To make it worse, the coaches were provoking. I understand that sports are big in Lansing but my goodness there were more people on the field than at parent teacher conferences.
I decided to put my children in cross country. Many middle schools offer it as a competitive school sport. Are my children athletic? I was not sure but whether they were or not, they were going to do something.
They needed some exercise. I got tired of seeing them looking at television, playing videos or staring at an Ipod. I could put both of them in and drive them around to the same events. Also it was easy because all you need for cross country are running shoes. They usually run 2 miles. It appears as though they are having a great time at it.
Even though they are in 6th and 7th grade, they are running. When we first started this journey in September, they both were looking at me like I was crazy. My son is younger and more physically fit than my daughter. However, my daughter and a friend decided they would support each other during the season.
My first cross country meet was so exciting. I enjoyed watching my children complete two miles. I was absolutely amazed that they both finished. I could hear my heart pounding with pride as I watched them both go under the finish line. I had a sore throat from screaming approvals to all who completed the race but it was so worth it. I know that they both cannot wait until the season is over but at least they will be both be able to say they have completed something athletic.
I keep their bib numbers in their hope chests maybe they will remember the lessons learned during this time when they have children of their own. My wildest dream is envisioning my children sitting on their own children's beds telling them stories about their first year of cross country and how much fun their crazy mother had making sure they did their very best.
This was printed in the October 6, 2013 - October 19, 2013 Edition