My son has gone through numerous organized "activities" in his
short existence. In Leo's six years he has had options I wouldn't
have dreamed about as a kid. Times were different back then,
though, and kids were left to their own devices for better or for
worse (most the time with me it was for worse). We tried soccer
with Leo back when he was three. He lasted a half of a game and
decided to retire after taking a brutal hit from a well equipped
young lady. I am sure to embarrass him in about 20 years by telling
his future wife that story. Who knows maybe she will be that young
lady? Then again I'm pretty sure that little girl is playing over
in Europe by now, she was that good!
This summer we did art camp in August at the amazing Lillstreet
Art Center, swimming twice a week at the friendly Lakeview YMCA,
and Leo's personal favorite - Gymnastic Camp at the Chicago Park
District's Broadway Armory Gymnastics Center. I have to admit, it
was a tough pill for me to swallow the first day I dropped him off
to gymnastics. I was raised on baseball, basketball, and football;
sports that I deemed to be "manly men" activities. When I dropped
Leo off he was one of two boys in a class of around 30. It seems I
was not the only one unfairly categorizing gymnastics. The stigma
lives. Leo was hooked right away. You see, gymnastics isn't that
far off from being a "ninja." They run, flip, balance and hang just
like most gymnasts. It didn't bother him in the least that he was
one of the only boys in the class. It turns out women are
caretakers even at a young age and for an only child with a hands
on mother this class became heaven for him. He was catered to
emotionally while building strength, endurance, coordination, and
stamina. The crown jewel of his summer was earning a second place
medal during their "2011 Beach Meet." Take that future wife!
Interested in gymnastics for you little one? Check out the
Broadway Armory Gymnastics Center at 5917 N Broadway, Chicago, Il.
60660. Phone: 312-742-7502. Also you can visit the Chicago Park
Districts website for activities near you.
Ryan lives in Uptown with his wife, Pascale, and 5-year-old son, Leo, and works in Chicago as an actor and on-air host.
See more of Ryan's stories here.
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