Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Times

Today I made up with triathlon. We gave each other a big hug and said we would stop saying bad things about each other for now. We agreed that we would have our differences from time to time but that overall we are in a good place and love each other.

Moving on.

I was in Chicago all day for a youth coaching clinic. It is put on by a non for profit organization that has developed an entire curriculum for getting children involved in triathlon. The idea is to encourage children to have fun with the swim, bike and run. Not so much "teach" triathlon but to have fun.

Think about it - as children most of us probably swam at some point. Most of us had a bike. And most anyone can run. We were doing triathlon before we even knew it! And so this organization is trying to get more children involved in the fun of triathlon. It's something most kids already know how to do. So let's do it!

The very unique thing is that these were minority children in Chicago. There are so many barriers they face to participating in sport or even getting outdoors. But triathlon made perfect sense for them. They live by a lake. They had bikes or had siblings with bikes. And they all could run.

The clinic aimed to prepare the kids for the kids triathlon this weekend. Let me tell you - these kids were already pro's! They had been participating in a 7 week camp that taught them all about triathlon. Ranging from ages 5 - 17, some had done the race for the past few years. Some had even gone to nationals. And then some were just beginning. The incredible thing was that no matter what level they were at - they all "trained" together and all had the same fun.

We played games in the pool which taught them a variety of open water skills. We had them practice bike skills in a parking lot. And then did some relays for the run. It was over 6 hours of movement for these kids - with only one break for lunch. It is amazing when you involve children in something motivating and fun - they keep at it and the time flies by.

Tomorrow I go back to do it all again. I cannot wait. Despite the fact that today I didn't have coffee until 8 am and didn't eat anything until 1 pm (NEVER leave the house without eating...I thought I would chew off my arm) - I had a good time.

This is just what I needed. To get over my bad self and put things back into perspective. FUN. Motivating others. Sharing the sport. This is what coaches do. This is what teacher do. This is what I love to do and I cannot wait to seek out more opportunities to work with children again (I miss that about my old job) and to get more invovled in the sport.

I had to laugh today when I was standing in the pool about to send off two boys to swim a length. One turned to the other and said "Wanna go fly?", the other nodded and then they took off doing butterfly down the lane. Fly, free, backstroke, side stroke - heck some were even walking. But they were having fun! That was the point. Doesn't matter how you get there, just have a good time.

I think I'm over myself now.


BreeWee said...

Okay, so you have a lot of REALLY cool posts, BUT this tops them!

Keepin' it real... LOVE it. Nothing like a child to remind us to live like a kid again.

OH, I was thinking about you today, I read something and as soon as I read it my brain said, "email Liz this!".

So here it is, From Conrad Stoltz:
"When you get hurt and all your sacrifice adds up to nothing, are you willing to put it all on the line again?"

Liz, you are!

Stef said...

Good news! Glad you two made up. All relationships go through some rocky times. The good ones end up more solid because of them.

Leah said...

I watched my daughter do her first tri this past weekend and it was great perspective. I was impressed at how seriously most of the kids took it. But you could tell they recognized that it was a game. And what do you do with a game? You PLAY it.

Wes said...

Without you out there, triathlon wouldn't be NEARLY as fun :-)

Shawn and Tracy said...

As a PE teacher I have always been looking for ways to start kid tri groups etc. Thanks for reminding us the pure challenge and fun that should remain our focus.

Alicia Parr said...

That sounds like it was so much fun!