Saturday, July 21, 2012

Swim Team Or Hockey?

Jacob has been dreaming about learning to play hockey for the past 7 months. I signed him and Matthew up for beginning lessons in August with the thought that it would give them a jump start on learning to play this fall. Jacob was absolutely sure he wanted to play and has even been begging me to get him his own pads and skates. I have been refusing to buy him anything since he has only been ice skating once in his life and the pads and skates are included in lessons for the first year. I am now glad I said no since he is now debating if he will play or not. So what is the debate and why would he change his mind? It's simple. Swimming. This kid is a little fish. People have been commenting since he was 2 about what a good swimmer he is for his age. Even the life guards are often impressed with how well he does. He has been swimming laps for the past several months as part of his swimming lessons and recently passed the "deep water test" at an open swim. The life guards are pretty sure he swims well enough to pass try outs and participate on swim team if he wants to. He is sure he wants to and I have a call in to the coach to find out more information. So why am I nervous about him joining? Well, I have a few concerns. 1) Time: The team practices three days a week and has meets almost every weekend. He has to participate in at least one meet a month but I am sure he would want to participate in more. The meets are the most fun part of swim team and I remember how much fun I had hanging out at meets with friends and eating junk food between events. 2) Impact on school work: I'm not extermely concerned about this one and it really isn't a big deal but I always worry a little about school work. Jacob will be in 1st grade this year so he is still little. He will have some homework but not a lot. My hope was he would do most of his homework at his after school care and we would just spend a few minutes finishing it and looking it over together. Swim practice is often right after school so he would have to complete his homework after dinner which means he will be tired from a long day. Again, not a huge concern since he does very well in school but I don't want homework to become a major battle. 3) Only one sport for 7 months: Again, not a huge concern but still there. Swim team would start at the same time as flag football but the monthly (or more) meets wouldn't begin until the football season was almost over. Other than hockey, he really isn't interested in other winter sports. His main loves are swimming, baseball and soccer. Baseball starts in late April and soccer is only 6 week sessions that he probably won't play in the fall anyway due to football commitments. 4) Cost: This is probably the big one. The fee breaks down to only $40 a month for his age group but is due all at one time in September. At the same time that I have to finish paying for back to school supplies, fall clothes and the dogs biannual vet vist and immunizations. While I think I can come up with the fees, it won't be easy that month and I wasn't planning ahead since he wasn't as strong of a swimmer in May so I didn't expect this to be an issue. I know Jacob would love swim team. I loved swim team and he has my love for anything in the water. (You would never guess this is the same little boy who use to scream during baths because he was so afraid of water). He is also very good at swimming and I have no doubt he will improve quickly if he was motivated by a good coach, other good swimmers near his age and the idea that he could race. He loves to race in the water and land and is fast. He recently beat all of the other kids at his summer camp including children entering 5th grade at a track meet (his teacher confirmed that he wasn't exagerating) and he is getting pretty fast in the water too. I want to encourage him and allow him to follow his passion and love but I also want to be cautious not to push him too fast too quick. After all, he needs time to be a little boy and try lots of new things. The practices are three times a week for one hour each time. I may have to flex my work schedule to get him to some of the practices but I also know I can find people to help me get him there also. The practices are in the early evening/late afternoon so we would be home for dinner and have plenty of time to relax before bed. There would also be time to take Matthew to his activities after swimming (right now he really wants to take an art class) which is also important. I am leaning towards letting him swim but I haven't decided for sure. There is a try out the first week of September and I plan to sign him up to attend. I plan to use that week to see how he likes it, make sure the coach thinks he swims well enough to join and then make a final decision. I know Jacob really wants to join but I also need to make the decision that will be in his best interest. Anyone out there have children who were on swim team at 7 years old? What was your experience like and what advice do you have? Should I let him take hockey on Sundays as well knowing that it will fill our week up but know that at least I let him try it? Any advice is appreciated.

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