Help! My Son Isn’t Athletic

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I enjoy reading friends’ posts on Facebook about taking their sons to football games, about how they sit in the rain and the cold while their boys have fun in practices, rolling around in the mud and tackling the other kids as they stop a touchdown.

But I’ll never be one of those moms. Why?

We’ve come to the big realization that our son just doesn’t like sports.

It’s not that he hasn’t tried. As a second grader, he joined a football team, but soon realized he didn’t like the thought of hurting anyone. Or anyone hurting him. Or running. Or doing push ups.

Normally, we wouldn’t let him quit something he started. But every single practice and game was making us all miserable, so finally we let him walk away.

He cried with happiness when we told him. I may have shed a tear or two as well.

We are Hoosiers, so the love of basketball runs deep in our part of the world. Our son desperately wanted to play hoops with his friends. He was so happy when he scored his first — and only — basket.

We just didn’t have the heart to tell him it was for the other team.

He has tried soccer, too. But he’s not a fast runner, or an agile player. He was taller and bigger than pretty much all of the players on the field, a bit like a Tonka truck in a sea of little Lego people. He did have fun, but he had no real passion for the game.

This is a tough admission for a young boy who is surrounded by athletic classmates, particularly where we live in the Midwest, where his friends’ families eat, sleep, breathe, and schedule their weekends around The Game.

But since he (like many other kids, I’m sure) doesn’t have a passion for sports, what can he do? What after-school activities would be good for him? What can help ward off boredom? One of my nephews played the drums nonstop as a kid. That’s a respectable hobby, but our house is too small for that. Another nephew rode a skateboard like Tony Hawk, but with my kid’s aforementioned lack of agility, that one’s out.

He has told me that sometimes in class he has a hard time concentrating while taking tests because his mind wanders or he hears music inside his head.

“If a country song starts playing in my head, I imagine shooting it with a gun until it goes away, ‘Pop, pop, pop!’ and it’s gone,” he said.

“But sometimes, another song will start playing in my head, and I end up singing songs from ‘Wicked.’ I will try to shoot the song, and I go, ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop … ular … You’re gonna be popular …’ and my whole concentration is lost.”

That’s when it hit me like a brick. Our son likes music. He likes the stage.

Perhaps he has a future in comedy.

His first stand-up comedy act was performed when he was 5 years old, and he crushed it. He’s obviously better at making people laugh than making tackles or goals … so our attention will now turn to acting classes rather than sweaty, frustrating sports practices. At least he will smell better.

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