Scott and I spent the majority of last weekend surrounded by sports. Taking a few hours hiatus from watching the Olympic Games, we headed over to Winter Springs to attend my niece and nephews’ swim meet.
We had one heck of a morning before we got there…
What started with a 5 a.m. Saturday airport pick-up call later turned into cleaning up after a sick kitty and an exploding bathroom faucet. Happy Saturday!
By the time we got to the pool we were happy to sit back and relax – as much as we could – in the Florida heat.
“Because You’re Good At It”
Have you ever been convinced to follow through with something, just because you have been told you are good at it? Whether it’s an extra curricular activity, a sport, or even a hobby, I would guess more than a handful of you have experienced this at one time or another.
For me, it’s blogging. Kidding! I love it… clearly.
Growing up, I would have to say it was playing the piano for me. Although I loved playing, I absolutely despised practicing. My mother would pretty much have to beg me to put in a few hours a week to understand, read, and play new music.
I liked playing the piano, I just didn’t have a desire to get better – which was a huge problem. I played for a few years in elementary school because “I had the perfect piano hands,” referring to my extra long and lean fingers. I had no problem playing the songs I knew, but never once enjoyed learning new material.
Eventually, I gave it up. I then focused all of my time and dedication to dance, which turned out to be a great decision.
There were definitely times I wanted to give that up as well, but pushed myself through countless auditions, competitions, long 18-hour days, and tiring rehearsals. Year after year, I moved through different opportunities in dance, starting with three years of performing in The Nutcracker, then competing on my college dance team, and eventually dancing four years professionally in the NBA.
Sometimes, it is worth all of the hard work. Who knew? 😉
While at the swim meet this weekend, my sister asked me to encourage my niece, Kayla, to keep swimming. The following shots were taken by a friend of ours back in 2010, but she looks just as adorable swimming today!
Photo Credit: Lauren Watai Photography
Kayla is one of the best on her team and has done really well in almost every single meet she competes in. Although it seems like she has a knack for it, her heart isn’t always into it and often mentions other activities to my sister she wants to try.
The latest request is jazz dancing. Considering my dance background, of course I am all on board for this idea!
Kayla also tried cheerleading last year, and although she has already caught on to basic tumbling skills in a short amount of time, she doesn’t like to yell or cheer. My opinion is at least the dance classes will help with cheer and dance choreography, which would also give her a chance to keep at it a little longer.
My sister thinks jazz might be a waste of time for her. Instead, she really wants her to focus on swimming, since she seems to be “good at it.”
Photo Credit: Lauren Watai Photography
At the end of the meet, the Tiger Sharks (their team) were announced the winners and my sister asked me to encourage Kayla to sign up for swimming again. I was happy to, but I’m not sure how happy she was to hear it from yet another person.
The “Because you’re good at it” phrase also got me thinking about Michael Phelps, while watching a documentary about his training from 2008 until now. After winning an incredible 14 Gold Medals in the Olympics, he first announced he wasn’t going to be competing in the 2012 London Games. A year later, he changed his mind and began to train for his next go at the Olympic Games.
Did he get burnt out?
Does he really want to win more Gold Medals, or does he feel like he should compete again, because he is obviously a little better than “good at it”?
It looks as though this will be the end of his Olympic career when mid-August comes around. Phelps has made it pretty clear that this is his last go around.
Training so hard, every single day, year after year, I totally understand why he would want to move on. I respect him for trying his best in this year’s Games and would still be a huge fan of his if he didn’t win another medal. He is SO close to breaking the world record though, it would be a shame for him not to do it.
Hmmm. I wonder if that thought would convince him to compete in one more Olympic year? I guess only time will tell.
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever stuck with something because you were told you are good at it? What sport or activity was it?
• Looking back at where the time and dedication took you, would still have made the decision to stick with it?
Being in band was a “just because I’m good at it” thing. I wanted to play the violin but that wasn’t an option, so got stuck with clarinet (equivalent, I think not). I was really good but didn’t want to be there. Only stayed for the social aspect. I’m glad I jumped ship and left for swimming and waterpolo…it’s where my heart was at.
In the same regard, a lot of young kids are unsure of who they are and what they want to do and I could see if letting them switch all the time, they may never stick with anything at all. I imagine it depends on the person and their self awareness.
I agree! Being good at something without a passion for it can only last so long. I’m so glad you ended up in the water, where you eventually figured out you belonged.
It’s so hard to tell with kids…I guess I won’t know how I would really respond to switching around, until that day comes to steer my own children down a successful path. Fingers crossed they like whatever we start them in young! 😉
Great post Heather!
But first and foremost, CONGRATS on the Best of Orlando! What a great accomplishment in only a year!
This is a very interesting post that hits home for me. When I was younger, I was actually a competitive swimmer for a little over 5 years. I first got into it because a girl I liked was on the team, but my parents quickly saw that I was “good at it” and therefore pushed me to go beyond the Summer League and do it year-round. Which then led to take private lessons, which then led to driving to Little Rock after school every day (about a 30 min. commute) to train under a better coach. I would often not even get home until around 7:30 or 8:00…which I’d then have to spend catching up on homework.
As good as I was at it, I wasn’t the best…so very rarely would I “place” per se (I did every now and then, and even took home a state title once, but I digress). Not that it mattered to me, but to one of my parents, not “winning” usually accompanied a lecture on the ride home from a meet about how I could improve my stroke, etc. Nevermind the fact that I gave up my entire weekend.
Anyway, as good as I was at it, truthfully I didn’t like it. I hated the nerves, the physical toil it took on my body and respiratory system, the egos of those whose parents were wealthy enough to get them private lessons every weekend so they’d swim better, and the overall pressure to succeed. It wasn’t fun.
The breaking point came when I had to skip out on our school’s Powder Puff game to drive 2 hours to a meet to swim a grueling 500 yd. event. Now you have to understand, I had been wanting to make the Powder Puff game for as long as I could remember…because it was invitation only, kind of like a Sadie Hawkins dance — you had to be asked by a cheerleader or dancer to take their place on the sideline, and it was open to anyone, not just the athletes (you’d be proud, I was chosen for the dance team). After a fun week of rehearsals, my mother informed me that she’d be checking me out of school early to drive to the meet so I could swim the event that I absolutely hated. It broke her heart to do it, but that’s a memory I’ll never get back.
It wasn’t long after that that I finally decided to take the summer off from swimming to focus on becoming a highschooler, and about a year later, I discovered mascotting.
One thing that really drew me to mascotting was the fact that I “got” it — not only did I enjoy it, but I was GOOD at it! Which made it all the more enjoyable! And the rest is history.
Anyway, the point to all this is, when you really ENJOY something and are equally as GOOD at it, the number of hours and work you put into it don’t seem to matter. No one ever had to ask me to practice dancing to be a better performer, I wanted to. No one ever has to ask me to look for the next great idea, I look for them anyway.
And I think when it boils down to it, if you really ENJOY something you’re doing, no one will ever have to ask you if you want to sign up for it another year.
Hey Kyle! Thank you so much for your congratulations and the time you took to share your story! 🙂
I completely understand you having to give up personal and school activities to take part in a sport. Luckily, I got to partake in the majority of my middle school activities and high school dances, but I did have to say no to things like sleepovers, trips to the movies and other social events often due to “rehearsal”.
The good news is I truly enjoyed what I did, and no one was forcing me to stick with it but myself. I feel blessed to have found something I have enjoyed since a young age.
As for you – I’m sorry you had to miss out on so much for a sport you weren’t really into, but I can definitely see you enjoy what you do now…and get paid to do! You really are good at entertaining, and it shows so much more when you have a passion and drive for it.
Thanks for your story! 🙂