Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Going for Gold

When Tom was still in kindergarten, scouts from the local gymnastics club swooped in and inspected the new cadets. They looked for kids that had the right height, body mass and, most importantly, the ones that were stubborn and determined.

'Hi, Mrs. Johnson! We'd like to have Tommy for the next 13 years.'

'Yeah, you can forget that. With my work schedule, I'm lucky to get him to kindergarten on time. There's no way I can manage to get him to training twice a week.'

'Sure you can.'

They should have realized that the whole "stubbornly determined" trait they were seeking in Tommy must have come from somewhere. Hmmm, if only we could pinpoint the source.

Okay, flash forward to a year later, when Angie decided to take a year off of work to help Tommy start primary school and Peter to move to his new school.

'Hi, Mrs. Johnson! We'd like to have Tommy for the next 12 years.'

'Okay, fine! I'll chauffeur him to gymnastics for a year.'

Tommy started training with one of his best friends. They met twice a week. After the second training, his friend dropped out and after the third training, Tommy came home crying. He then tried turning to me for sympathy. Silly rabbit, tears are for kids.

'Papa, it hurts everywhere.'

'Sounds like any given Saturday morning. What's the problem?'

'It hurts. Everywhere. I want to quit.'

At that point, I was in a real dilemma. Did I want to take the easy way out and avoid getting up at the crack of dawn for the many tournaments and trainings that would inevitably prevail or did I want to teach my son a lesson in life?

'Tommy, I'll make you a deal. It's October now. You stick to the training until the end of the year and I will ask you again on New Year's Day if you want to quit. If you say 'yes', I will not question it at all. Until then, you just pop the snot bubble and deal with it. Deal?'


For the next weeks, I massaged his sore muscles and worked with Angie to juggle his pick up and drop off for his trainings twice a week. Unlike marriage, the constant complaining gradually decreased and he actually started to look forward to training.

January 1st came and I thought back to Tommy's initial revelation.

'Angie, everything hurts.'

'Sounds like any given year. What's the problem?'

I ignored my wife's complete lack of pity and decided to take my agony out on my third-born.

'So, Tommy - are you ready to quit gymnastics?'

Tom didn't answer. Instead, he cracked up laughing for fifteen minutes. I hadn't seen that much lack of control since Angie had almost peed herself after at my minor faux pas in church.

And that, my readers, is the story about how Tommy became addicted to bending his body in his positions that would make Play-Doh jealous.  

Since then, Tommy switched to training three times a week and, just recently, to training for two and half hours every day. Over the years, he's had his ups and downs. For shits and giggles, let's just start with the downs, which would be basically any tournament that he has been in for the last three years. Now that he's cried on that shoulder, let's ask Proud Tommy what he would look like if he had actually won gold at the Regional Championship. That's right, baby - 1st place!

Ladder Talk:  [No Ladder Talk - Tommy conked out after dinner]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: zzzzZZZZ....
David: zzzzZZZZ....
Tom: zzzzZZZZ....

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter:  zzzzZZZZ....
David:  zzzzZZZZ....
Tom:  zzzzZZZZ....

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter:  zzzzZZZZ....
David:  zzzzZZZZ....
Tom:  zzzzZZZZ....