This post has been one if the hardest posts to write. I have started it, erased it and started it again so many times that if this had been done on paper with a pencil there would be a huge erase hole through the center. It isn’t that this story is so tragic that I can share it, but rather it is the complete opposite. This story is one of those moments that I stand back and think ‘yes’ this is what parenting is truly all about. It is a moment that I was so overwhelmed with pride for my boys that my heart felt like it would burst through my chest. It was a moment that I will cherish forever.
The story began with my DS8 and his first soccer game. He was 3 years old. DH and I were very excited to get my son involved in sports. It was 5 minutes into practice and DS had run one lap of the soccer field, fell down at my feet and exclaimed he was exhausted. From there on sports and DS just didn’t mix. I tried team sports, individual sports, high impact sports and low impact sports. Nothing seemed to grab and hold DS’ attention. Nothing that made him excited about physical activity. DS6, on the other hand, enjoyed physical activity and playing team sports, but looked up to his older brother and adopted the same attitude towards participation in sports.
At the beginning of the summer, I was approached with an opportunity for the kids to participated in the Target Tri-FUN Triathlon. A triathlon is an individual sport that involves completing three tasks; swimming, biking and running. “The objective of the Tri-FUN event series is to provide a supportive, family environment that celebrates individual achievement through the great sport of triathlon. It’s a motivating way for kids to get fit, have fun and gain confidence.”
My first thought was to laugh! My kids participating in a race? Never mind, a race with THREE sports involved?!?!? I am a firm believer that a child should be involved in decisions in their life, so I asked the boys. I figured DS6 would jump at the opportunity because he loves trying new things. I also thought DS8 would laugh and say no way. So I explained the event and what it involved (i.e rigorous training schedule all summer, willing to commit to decision, full efforts on the day of the event.). To my surprised, DS8 immediately jumped at the opportunity to participate. Thrilled (and skeptical) of his excitement, I ran with it!
We have a high school track behind our house. At least three times a week, Daddy and the two boys would head to the track and prepare for the race. They would run the track, ride their bikes and stretch. Each time it was time to go, DS8 was the first ready to go. Almost everyday, he asked if it was a training day! He worked hard, gave it 110% and made great strides in his strength and endurance.
The day of the big race arrived, both boys were pumped! They were decked out in C9 by champion wear from Target, spirits high and ready to go. DS6 was first! I don’t know who was more nervous standing on the pool deck me or him! The moment the whistle blew, DS6 began! He swam like champ, rode his biked grinning from ear to ear and ran with all his might! Crossing the finish line, he was so excited. My heart felt like it would burst with pride!
DS8 had two hours to kill before his turn. We had the opportunity to explore the Family fun zone and check out all of the amazing sponsors! The kids had a blast! There was Lego to build, climbing course to conquer thanks to Monkeynastix and delicious snacks to eat from Melitta.
DS8 looked a little uneasy as the race drew closer. I pumped him up with his favourite song, ‘What does the Fox say?” and a heart to heart pep talk. He never once asked to back out or complained about training all summer, his heart was fully in it. The race began and he had to swim three laps of the pool. He started off strong but quickly tired. By the end of his first lap he was struggling. By the end of the second lap, he was the only one in the pool. By the end of the third lap, I thought he was going to quit. Instead, he pursued on! He jumped on his bike and began cycling. People were passing him, heats behind him were catching up, but never once did he stop or give up. At the end of the cycling part, he was exhausted. That didn’t stop him. He worked too hard all summer preparing for this moment and he wasn’t about to give. He ran, walked and ran again. Like a lunatic, I was screaming on the side lines. Daddy and DS6 ran beside him encouraging him to run on.
When DS8 crossed the finished line, I can’t begin to explain what I felt. Excitement that he completed the race. I was in awe that this nonathletic boy struggled and pursued through the most difficult task of his life. I was surprised that he put his dislike of physical activity aside and stayed committed for the entire summer. Above all, I was proud beyond belief. The best part….He wants to do it again NEXT YEAR!
If you are looking for a way to have fun, supportive, family challenge that celebrates individual achievement, I highly recommend you participate in the Target Tri-FUN triathlon.