Friday, May 26, 2017

The One Where Evan Hits Balls

Both Evan and Jordan do sport. Actually Muffin as well though the twins spend a lot more time on it.

But their narratives could not be any different.

Evan is not a natural athlete. As a baby, the doctors worried because his head lolled to one side for the longest time. As a toddler, he would fall over a lot and bump his head repeatedly on the same spot. Even as a tennis player, he is no where as good as many of the kids in his age group.

And that makes it hard for him.

It means that he has to work doubly hard to do what comes naturally to some and sometimes, it gets very disheartening. 

It means that there are some coaches that don't like that he isn't a ready made player, who has natural ability. They would yell at him because his footwork isn't what is to be expected of a 10 year old who plays x number of days a week. These were the coaches who would make him cry in frustration.

It means that in a team, he might not be seeded very high and might not get picked to play because he might weigh the team down.

But does he try. Try very hard, he does.

He works till rivets of sweat run down his face and he can't lift his feet anymore. He's learnt to be consistent while he works on power. On the days he doesn't play, he goes running with Packrat and is attempting the jump rope.

We do our part by putting him with coaches who will affirm his effort and encourage him along. We stay away from the coaches who only see him for what he is not. That isn't helpful, to anyone.

In his first ever league tournament, he knew he wasn't seeded very high and every time he played, he tried very hard and tried to make it count. When he couldn't kill the shot, he rallied till the opponent made a mistake and he always took stock of the players he played with. He learnt very quickly to place his shots out of reach of his opponents. And in that way, he won more points and in some of the matches, ended up carrying the 'higher' seeded partner he was playing with because his parter, while stronger was more inconsistent with his shots.

The day of the finals, when he helped the team place well, was a vindication for him; against the managers who would leave him out of line ups, against the coaches who thought him crap and even, to some extent, against us, for the times that we rolled our eyes at his seemingly uncoordinated ways.

I told Evan, the one thing I truly admired about him, is the fact that he's a cool cucumber. He looks cool on court. He doesn't let the stress get to him and he just goes on placing the shots where he needs to. When we commended him on being cool, he exclaimed that he was nervous as heck. That, I told him was excellent, that he doesn't let the nerves get to him. I told him the analogy was to be duck like; gliding along the water as if nothing gazed him  but actually paddling furiously underneath, away.

Someone said to us that Evan is probably learning more because he's isn't naturally gifted and things don't come easy to him. And like pediatricians used to tell us, as long as the milestones are achieved, it isn't about who gets there first.  It'll come in good time and he really is getting there. 


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