beyond soccer

Other parents have kids who play soccer, baseball...maybe tennis. All three of my children have had the chance to play all the "normal" sports, but the two oldest just weren't interested.

What did mine choose? Only what I think may be the two most expensive, messy, inconvenient sports on the planet. Jane, age 9, rides and shows hunter-jumper ponies. Henry, age 13, is extremely active in an organized youth paintball league.

I complain, but actually I'm sort of glad that they both do something interesting. And I bear a lot of the responsibility for Jane getting into riding. I am a horse nut and rode growing up, so I encouraged her to take that first riding lesson when she was 5. Now she's equine obsessed (and a really, really good rider to boot). She says she wants to ride in the Olympics.

The paintball thing came out of the blue. Henry discovered it, tracked down places to play and gets himself organized to do it. I am learning more about it and enjoying watching it a lot more now that the painball league has moved to an indoor field. I can now sort of figure out what's going on.

What I do not understand is all the equipment. I cannot figure out how his paintball gun works or the role of the CO2, or any of that. But Henry does. And although he's not generally a very mechanical person, he is very handy at setting up and repairing his mechanical equipment.

Elliot, who is 6, appears to be my traditional team-sports kid. He played a season of baseball and liked it okay. He has played two seasons of soccer and liked that a lot too. But he also likes to ride horses and play paintball. He has ridden in a couple of horse shows and takes a lesson every week. He's not really old enough yet to play paintball, but it seems like he will want to when he is bigger.

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