Wednesday, August 04, 2010

8/4/2010 Tennis, anyone?

Yesterday after Julian and I were done at Urgent Care, we went back to the school where the Y daycamps are held (conveniently about a 2-minute drive away). Since the doc had said no swimming this week while his stitches were in, we had to make a change from Splash Camp.

Julian was very excited about Lego Bash'n'Bots, but I warned him this popular camp would probably be full, and it was. All that was open was Prince and Princesses (Prince and Princesses? Now really, do any boys join this one??), Hogwarts, and tennis. The Hogwarts camp director was there, a funny friendly guy, and we chatted up the Harry Potter stories (of which I'm a big fan). But when I offered Julian the choices, he said, "Tennis" right away. "You sure?" "Yup, tennis." OK! Tennis it is.

I realized in the middle of the day today that I wasn't even sure if he knew what tennis is.

But he had a great time today, happily describing the games they played and how to serve and that he beat his whole group in a running race. Uh-huh, I'd like to hear the rest of that story. The reason for my skepticism is well-founded: it happens that an old friend from Las Madres was in his group, and Julian claimed to have outrun him too. He cited their exact times in seconds, but I still find it hard to believe that Julian outran athletic and older Rylan (Gabriel's peer).

These sports camps typically do the specific activity in the morning, then other things in the afternoon. Ironically this afternoon was Swim Day for the tennis camp. But that was OK, the tennis camp Director told me that lots of kids don't swim, and they have other activities set up for them. He also told me at pickup today that Julian seemed to really enjoy himself and picked up the tennis part quickly. Tennis, so far, is a big win.

Splash camp, on the other hand....not so much. Gabriel said yesterday that the 45-minute lesson was "great" because half of it involved the kids floating around in life vests, which they could opt out of, and he did. Today he got lucky again because they were buddied up, and his buddy had to get out of the pool for some reason, so he got to get out also. He says he's not learning anything, and complains about having to "practice." That's the 45-minute lesson part; then they get lots of water free play time, which he likes.

Both Gabriel and Julian found the pool to be too cold for lessons, which means there's likely too much waiting. It's a large outdoor pool, kept to a typical temperature for a practice pool, which is great for actually swimming, but a little cold if you have to hold onto the side for more than a few minutes. The boys complained about the pool where I swim too, so I know how cold it is, and it's perfect if you're actually moving. On hot days it's actually a little too warm.

Talking with a coworker today who has 2 boys aged 10 and 12, and two Las Madres friends whose kids have finally learned to swim, I'm increasingly convinced that short intensive courses (every day for 2 weeks) in an entrepreneur's backyard pool with just one or two kids in the lesson is plenty -- provided the lessons are of high quality. Heck, I'll even take lessons of mediocre quality if they'd just teach them to use their arms!

Gabriel is at a level in which he is taught arms (at DACA that is), and he could benefit from plain old practice, but I gather he's not getting enough pressure from the Y camp to swim even from one side of the pool to the other, a mere 25 yards. I know he could be motivated to; he was very intrigued to hear that I usually swim a "mile" when I work out swimming. Somehow "a mile" sounded a lot more impressive than "1800 yards" (which is a bare minimum for any real swimmers).

Julian isn't even being taught to use his arms yet at DACA. From the brief stint we did at Water Babies last summer, in which they view arms as pretty important in swimming, I saw that he was quite ready to use them. Otherwise it's called "treading water." Even Katrina could benefit from arm practice now, though she's even lamer than her swim lessons, so she is getting a little out of them, but not nearly as much as she could.

Wouldn't it be funny if Julian really got into tennis. We'd have a great story to tell about how it got started.


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