Growing up, sports were not very important in my family. Academics and music took precedence. In my husband's family, sports were very important, academics slightly important and music non-existent. Given our backgrounds, it stands to reason that we needed to discuss what to emphasize with our kids. Strangely, my husband has always wanted to play an instrument, and I always wanted to be more athletic. I think all of the above are important, so it really comes down to balancing priorities and how to squeeze everything in, without overscheduling the kids.
I suppose we've always known that it all has to fit somehow. Early on, we talked and made it known to the kids that they always 1) have to be involved in a sport, any sport and 2) have to be involved with music, any instrument. So, with the new semester coming up, things have slowly solidified.
Both of the kids have been taking ice skating lessons since January. Granted, the primary reason we started was because of my son's need for physical therapy. He had bilateral coordination issues which are absolutely critical for using both sides of your body in different ways....writing, running, etc. The driving reason was his issue with writing, but it also plays a huge part in sports. He also had a balance issue. We also had speech therapy to contend with, so while we were able to find a speech therapist willing to come to his school, the physical therapy options were mid-day and not convenient. It would interfere with work and school way too much. So, our only other options (after thinking creatively) was to encourage his participation in either gymnastics or skating. Both are fabulous options for kids with balance and bilateral issues. Of course, we also purchased the trampoline, which is a given for any family dealing with physical therapy as well.
Skating was an easier choice for us, somehow. I suppose I looked back and always had fond memories of it. We did try roller skating, but honestly, it just always felt like a poor substitute to "real" skating. Call me pretentious, but roller skating simply feels like the red-headed stepchild to ice skating. We have a great facility nearby....tons of Olympians practice and teach there, so why not give it a go!
My daughter is a natural with any sport (definitely inherited the gene from her dad), but my son just LOVES skating. He could easily be out there for 2-3 hours and simply be content skating around with no purpose. We started him on hockey skates, and while there was some concern (hockey skates are much harder to balance on since the blade is curved more and there is no extension in the back, which makes it easier to fall backwards and hit your head). But, he loved them and because of them wanted to get on the ice as much as possible.
So, after 7 months of skating, he is now ready to start hockey! Its actually cross hockey for the 5-8 year olds, which means more pick time and more skate time...different format but effective at developing their skills and keeping them interested. Its no contact until they are 9 (or on the traveling team), so I hope he loves it for a few years, and then decides to have nothing to do with it when he is around 8 or 9 :)
My daughter, on the other hand, wants to try softball again. She is a power hitter, without a doubt! Amazing eye-hand coordination and has a great hitting average...since Dad still pitches baseball (not softball), its something that they can bond over. She "thinks" she is a decent thrower, so we need to work on that...but she really can't catch well. Definitely some things to work on with Dad!
I'm a bit saddened that she is taking a break from skating (as she likes the competitions and dressing up in the skating outfits), but on the other hand, switching it around is good. I do hope she picks it up again after the Fall softball season. Softball in Florida is competitive, and its often year-round. The Fall season is more instructional, while the Spring season is more competitive. Given that, we really would prefer her to just do the Fall season. I will just miss the Christmas skating show....she even has a little santa outfit she could wear.
So, we will see how everything progresses. Sports is important for both of them. The teamwork, the comraderie. I want them to enjoy this part of sports, as its everlasting. Let's just hope our schedules don't go crazy as a result!