Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Stick Bricolage

Back when I first started trying to get Skylar interested in the idea of sports, at age four or so, she invariable wanted to dribble the soccer ball and kick the basketball. For the most part, that attitude towards la régle du jeu persisted through last year, with the exception of her martial arts training, which seems to get processed in a different part of her mind. I was delighted, then, when she not only proved willing to give an after-school girls basketball class a whirl this past spring, but also stuck it out for the whole six weeks, despite perceiving that the "sporty" girls that dominated the proceedings were a poor psychological fit for her. I'm hoping that she'll take the next iteration of the class in the fall. And I would also very much like her to start playing softball, since she has demonstrated a real affinity for hitting projectiles in motion. Still, I know that her aversion to rules and regulations may make it hard for her to get and stay involved, since softball and baseball lack the one-on-none dimension that makes basketball a good sport for loners and free spirits. So I'm hoping to remind her how much she likes to hit without pushing the team concept too hard.

The other night, when I was trying to figure out a new way for her to get her daily exercise, I devised a new "sport" with this approach in mind: whack-a-frisbee. Not only does this activity involve me throwing her a frisbee instead of a ball, it's also played with a long, unwieldy branch pruned from the mesquite tree in our front yard. The only rules are that A) she has to slide the frisbee back to me, hockey style, if she fails to make contact or whacks the frisbee foul; B) I have to retrieve the frisbee if she whacks it into fair territory (an amorphous but still sensible subdivision of space roughly equivalent to the shape of a baseball diamond); and C) I also have to retrieve the frisbee if it sails into the flood control retention basis next to our house, a task that involves clambering down a rather steep, rocky incline. Skylar enjoys this activity more than any of the other in-front-of-our-house games we've played over the years. It gives her good exercise, since the stick is considerably heavier than her baseball bat and she swings it almost like a martial arts-type staff. It confuses our neighbors, who aren't used to seeing such DIY games. And it solves the problem of dealing with the potential for a well-hit ball to break something important or roll away where we can't get it, since the frisbee doesn't go very far on even the best of whacks. I also like the idea that we've revived, in a strange way, stickball, the sport my father played growing up in New York City, with the added wrinkle that we "grew" our own stick!
Tags: daughter, everyday, sports

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