It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. Erma Bombeck
Just back from an amazing weekend in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where the Angkor Wat temples are. Every year we go up and participate in what is rapidly turning into a massive weekend of charity, good will and self challenge.
For the bike race, I placed 4th for the women's 100k race (out of 47 women, so I'm pretty pleased with that) and dropped almost 3 minutes from my time last year. That might not seem like a lot, but if you follow my threads at all, you'll know I spent the first quarter of the year doped up on morphine, unable to shower myself... Apparently I'm all healed now.
The next day (Sunday) is the anual 3k, 10k, 21k run for charity, and this year more than 7,500 runners showed up to explore the temples and dabble with personal bests. I know I got mine, so I'm pretty chuffed.
But, more than speaking about my experience, I wanted to shed some light on what my daughter said. She competed by doing the 30k bike race and the 10k run with me. She beat her bike time and since we agreed to run together and not walk, we both smashed the 10k with giddy enthusiasm.
She said, later...in the glow of personal achievement, "Mom, I like volleyball and other school sports, but really, I don't like team sports. I just want to do this." She is a swimmer - co-captain of the team and now she is starting to see herself as a runner and cyclist...and you all know what that means....
yes! budding triathlete. I'm so excited for her. She asked if she could keep coming to my Saturday morning Spinning® classes - to which I whole heartedly said "yes!"
I'm grateful that I can say yes, because although the club policy is 16 for kids, they overlook the fact that she is 14 and let her spin in my classes - figuring, maybe, that I won't hurt my own daughter. (They're right, by the way)
Gyms often don't let kids under 17 in - siting non-existant studies about how kids injure themselves - yah, maybe sure...when they don't put the weight plates back....
It might be better if we had a youth class full of her peers, but we don't have that (yet) - so she just comes in with the adults and does what she can - which is more and more every time.
Not every kid can be on a team, and while team sports are so great for kids in so many ways - there should be an alternative for families with kids who are not on team sports. Fitness is important, sure...for the teen years, but more importantly, self esteem and self efficacy are crucial.
If you don't offer youth classes or allow kids into adult classes - could be time to ask yourself why and examine how much of an impact you could make in the lives of teens who might not otherwise get any real and challenging exercise into their lives.
Would love to hear your thoughts on all of this... Does your gym allow children? If so, at what age? Do you feel comfortable teaching children? (Of course, I am talking about kids who are big enough to be fit safely to a bike and who have the attention span to stay for the duration of the class....) A simple response might be ' NO! children should be out on their bikes, not in a gym..." But for kids who don't do sports....can you accomodate?