Friday, April 26, 2013

The Beginnings of an Athlete

Owen running his warm up lap at the "Tierra de Campeones" stadium in Iquique, April 2013
Sometimes God surprises us with a gift that we could not have expected.

For our just-turned-8-year-old son Owen, that gift came in the form of a suggestion from his PE teacher. This same teacher had invited him to participate in her after-school track and field class two years ago when he was just starting first grade, but at the time he was already committed to soccer. When we asked her about the program this year, she was under the impression the school would not be offering it. So she suggested going to ask at the local soccer stadium in Iquique.

It took multiple trips and conversations with multiple people, but on the third try we received another simple suggestion. Just go out to the field and talk to the trainer, "Don" Anibal, they said. We did, and long story short he was happy to work with Owen every day after school. In fact, he thanked us for the privilege when we should be the ones thanking him!

What a great experience it has been so far. "Don" Anibal is knowledgeable, and Owen is a sponge for everything he has to teach him. Meanwhile I get the privilege of observing what for me is all new and fascinating. I also enjoy listening to stories from a man who is well into the "senior" years of his life but continues to stay active just as he did as a boy growing up in long-ago Iquique. He tells tales of the Englishmen who once had a presence here due to the nitrate mines, and who taught the children of Iquique their sports such as handball and baseball and fencing. He makes me smile with his delight over my son's capabilities and his dream that Owen will outshine the competition and be the "star" of the twilight years of his career.

As a non-athletic mom, I find even the warm up routine fascinating:

Owen has been longing to try the hurdles since he first started coming to train a month or so ago. We mentioned it to his coach once but he forgot, so yesterday I told Owen to mention it again. He got all embarrassed and said, "My MOM wants to know if I can do the hurdles ..." As if it were my idea, ha! At any rate, today he was given the chance to try and he loved it. I think "Don" Anibal enjoyed Owen's excitement and he was certainly pleased with his potential. "Most kids take months to learn what he did just today!" he enthused. Pointing his index finger to his temple he added with conviction, "He is so smart - he remembers it all here!"

It is always more entertaining for Owen if he has company on the track, but at 2 p.m. he is usually the only kid at the stadium. However, Owen's PE teacher - the same one who directed us here in the first place - is often exercising at the same time. She also receives tips from "Don" Anibal. Sometimes he'll have Owen and "Tia" Denise race each other, which looks fun for both of them!

Have I mentioned how grateful I am for this gift my son is experiencing?  

Because truly, I am. :)

1 comment:

Terri Fisher said...

My boys enjoyed watching their cousin on video! Glad to see those long, lanky legs being put to good use!