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Wheels go round n’ round

June 16, 2010

A great deal of my life revolves ( no pun intended) around this.

It seems if I’m not in the kitchen classroom at school, or homemaking, or slaving to the evil laundry god,  I’m following this around.

I have no idea who the child in deep thought on the left is.

In pursuit of this.

Right now I am deep in the throes of packing for a week-long trip to Oregon. We are heading off  for USA Cycling National Championship for Juniors, in Bend.  The racer, the coach,2 Road bikes, 1 Time Trial bike, 3 spare wheel sets, helmets, sunglasses (yes they are on the official list) , tools,  bottles,  cleats, kits, tubes, gels, bike wash, knee tape, sponsor banners,sponsored sunblock, sponsored hair care,  the mom and sisters and the clothes are loading up and heading out.  Pretty much in that order of importance.

While Beauty and I were off gallivanting in la Jolla camping with 3rd grade ( yes pictures soon) and Harmony was living the sprinkles on pancakes life at Tutu and  Grandpa’s , Coach and Order were in Santa Maria winning State’s Road Race.

Life as the mom of a competitive cyclist is an interesting thing. There is some heat from the Waldorf  factor at school for allowing Order this level of competition at such a young age.  Sleep has been lost, I assure you, contemplating this. Do you deny a passion, holding back, and thus inadvertently set your child back? Encourage the drive for a dream? It’s a new world out here, and cycling is a specialized sport with few avenues for women and less time available to ‘miss out’. The idea of  ‘it’ being there when she is older while seeming valid, doesn’t hold water when the powers that be start looking very early on for the future of the sport. Where is the line drawn between the encouraging and forcefully firm parent that  a young  athlete needs to be successful, and the overbearing parent archetype? This is the tightrope we walk daily.

In Waldorf we speak of  replacing competition with collaboration, learning to work as a collective, one of man’s greatest endeavors. Developmental appropriateness for each age and stage is honored and intense focus and competition seems not to align with the generalization needed at this age. Intention matters and Waldorf  rightly recognizes that in lieu of non competitive athletics, playing for the fun of playing, it needs to fill that void with movement, collaborative physical activities and play. Essentially teaching children to first play with each other before playing against each other is the goal.

At the cusp of 13, Order is in between seven-year cycles yet still within  her 12 year change, she is a child in a woman’s body.

What to do what to do, a mute question because you know our choice. Full throttle competition with screaming,  hollering, cheering, cow bells, schedules,  weekly practice and yes sponsor activities. ( in for a penny in for a pound)

As I fall from the wagon do not drag me under the wheels, I beg you. At least I know how far I have fallen. We balance, we  encourage sportsmanship and honor, require that she rides for a charitable cause, incorporate activities around the cycling, such as public speaking and mentoring; and mostly follow her lead in drive and passion.

I reconcile myself with the knowledge  that competition has entered the life of a middle schooler with the Pentathlon and Medieval Games. Many schools have begun to sanction competitive inter school  athletics, like soccer or baseball. Maybe I am offering my daughter an opportunity from which she can glean a sense of confidence,  healthy body awareness, pride tempered with humility , teamwork, self-reliance, and well-earned accomplishment. Or I could be damaging her for life.

Life is a series of small choices that build big decisions.

Louise Hay tells me that I can only do the best I can with what I have and where I am.

Bend here we come. May the roads be clear, the wheels be true, and her legs be strong.

Fat chance kid, get in the back seat.

One Comment leave one →
  1. tony permalink
    June 22, 2010 6:37 am

    can she drive us all around vegas,during the show in sept.?

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