Tag Archives: children and sport

My New Running Buddy Age (Almost) 5

For ages and ages my eldest son has been asking to come running with me. I haven’t taken him because I felt he was too small and he might not manage an actual ‘run’ run. I was concerned that we’d get out and he’d complain after about 100 metres and whinge to be taken home. But on the second day of our Cornish holiday, as I was getting ready to go to the beach for a run my not quite 5 year old asked to come with me. And I said yes.

He wanted to stretch before hand ‘because that’s what runner’s do’.

20130324_152532We jogged down the road to the beach, facing the traffic, my son keeping to the inside of the road. There was no whinging, no demands to go home, no declarations of boredom and he wasn’t slow either!

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We stopped a couple of times to look at the view and for some photo opps to document the occasion. Natch.

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20130324_153902People obviously looked at us running. They probably thought I was some die hard, pushy, evil mother with her eyes on gold medals in 2024 or 2030. I wanted to stop and tell them ‘he wanted to do this. It’s all him, I tried to persuade him not to!’.

The road back to the cottage was all uphill and he did have to walk a little bit but I think that’s fair for a little boy who had just run 2km. Still though there was no whinging or complaining. This boy was tougher than I thought!

He was thrilled that he had come running with me and wrote about it in his holiday diary. For me I was proud and so happy to have shared my love of running with my child. We may not do it again. He may hate running as he gets older but for that short time in Cornwall my beloved little boy in his ‘super fast running shoes’ was my running buddy.

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A Spark and A Bike.

For weeks, months after we began practising, invisible to the naked eye, little connections were being made. Neuronal connections, dendrite cell electro stimulation, action potentials and neurotransmitters all becoming stronger and more efficient. Systems beginning to integrate and share information like a series of super computers. The control centre sending out messages and receiving replies from many sources.

Connections continued to grow, silent neurones awakened, motor neurones stimulated increasing the strength of the muscles they sat within. The control centre buzzing, changing, adapting and growing with the new information being fed back into it. A map being written and re-written, over and over.

And then, with the last connection made, the last required muscle fibre grown and stimulated there was a spark. That spark lit up the control centre and the map. All systems came together, working as one. And with no awareness of any of this magic taking place little boy, not yet 5, had learnt to ride his bike without his stabilisers.

Off he went down the quiet cul de sac, legs pedalling furiously, head and body trying to keep his balance. I danced around for him, doing mini air punches in celebration of his achievement. A world of childhood adventure had opened up to him and I am thrilled for him.

Kids, Fair Play and Lance.

This is a running blog but I like to think that I can broaden it out to sport in general and how it effects my family, my children especially. I want my children to be involved in sport because I want them to be fit and healthy. I also want them to learn about teamwork and respect. I also want them to learn about fair play, how to play fairly against and alongside others and to know that cheating is only cheating yourself. Unless you’re Lance Armstrong.

When the allegations exploded recently I really hoped that they weren’t true. I really hoped that this legend of a sportsman wasn’t just that: a totally made up myth, constructed by the drugs and cycling businesses. But it turns out that is exactly what he is. This cheat has made millions and millions from doping and accepting accolades that he does not deserve. In fact in 2005 he flew his children in to France to help him lift his trophy at the end of the tour.

Wow. Just wow. This man went low enough as to allow his children to be part of his charade. He allowed his children to believe that he was this all conquering worthy champion while all the time he was doped up to the eye balls. Well as a fellow parent I have some questions for Lance Armstrong:

When one of your children comes home upset that another child cheated at a game what will your honest advice be? That cheaters never prosper? Ha, well you proved that one wrong didn’t you. Here was I thinking I could teach my kids that you only cheat yourself if you cheat but now I can teach them that you can profit from people’s misplaced faith and admiration.

One of your children comes home and complains that the coach of the team is also the father of one of the other kids. This father is showing favouritism and selecting their own kid even though their kid isn’t as good enough. What will you do? Complain to the Coach/Dad? Say it’s not fair? How can you? You endorse cheating and that there is cheating. Your kid will have to suck it up and deal with the unfairness of it all, the unfairness being that they will never be picked no matter how good they are.

When your child hasn’t worked hard enough at school and is worried that they might fail a test what will you do? Help them study last minute so they pass and hopefully instil the ethic that hard work and graft provide just rewards? Or will you buy the exam questions? Buy the exam board? Sit the exam for them?

When your child is offered drugs that could enhance their performance in a sport but could also cause them serious long term harm and prevent clean athletes from their rightful podium place, what will you say? This drug will help them to win but could also cause side effects such as heart disease, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis and other potential unknown maladies. Will you encourage them to dope as you did so willingly?

Lance Armstrong maybe a father but I’m not sure he’s taught his children anything worthwhile. I honestly feel sorry for his children because they will learn that their father is a cheat and that nobody likes a cheat. They will learn the extent of what he has done and I really hope that one day he will look into their eyes and see disappointment sitting there because that is what he has become for so many people. A great big cheating disappointment. But then again he has probably taught them that there’s no point in working hard at anything because there’s always a way to cheat the system. You’ve cheated your own kids Lance, well done.

The British cyclist Nicole Cook retired today. A clean athlete who rejected drugs when offered and went on to become Olympic champion. It can be done. She is a true inspiration, the real deal. She left a statement on her website and I think she sums things up perfectly here:

‘When Lance “cries” on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward – just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.’

I will continue to teach my children the importance of playing fair whether that’s on the field, track or at the kitchen table with a game. Because I still believe the glory of winning is in knowing that you did it fair and square.

Chwarae Teg!