It took a few weeks for us to settle into our Fall routine of school and various activities. Mainly because my kids kept changing their minds about what they wanted to do!
I’m no soccer mom. But.
I’m all about dabbling at the younger ages: what better time for them to explore all that is out there? And I admit that I get a little excited about the opportunities myself: growing up in Small-town, Kansas some… years ago, I simply didn’t have the chance to try most of the things that my kids have access to today. But there’s a fine line between Taking Advantage and Going Overboard. And I think we almost crossed it when Conner decided to try Rowing for the first time.
Did you say… Rowing?
Thing is, it was actually my idea.
What Conner really wants to do is play tennis. In fact, that’s all he wants to do. But boys’ tennis isn’t until the Spring, so when I saw some information about the Greater Dayton Junior Rowing Team for the Fall season I brought it to Conner’s attention. “Think of the great workout and how strong your arms would be for tennis!” I had no idea that rowing actually utilizes more of the leg muscles than the arm. Nor was I thinking of how perfect a fit Conner’s body was for rowing in general, his being in the lighter category, you might say, thereby requiring less raw muscle to propel along the surface of the water. In fact, I knew very little about rowing at all other than it requires a boat and some oars and some water and was associated with highfalutin ivy league schools on the East Coast.
Conner readily agreed to give it a try. I think he had visions of bulky biceps in his head. I didn’t have the heart to tell him his genetic disposition tends more toward the lean look, no matter how much muscle he acquired.
The Truth About Rowing
The Rowing program allows you to try it for a week before any payment is due. Conner was nervous at first, not having any clue about rowing in general, other than the occasional ride in grandma and grandpa’s canoe in the park in their backyard. Like many kids, Conner felt like he’d be the only one not having any idea what he was doing.
Of course, this fear was alleviated within the first five minutes. And Conner was sucked in pretty quickly. It was beautiful, sunny, Fall weather! Who wouldn’t want to be out on the water, coasting along under a canopy of Ohio trees on the cusp of displaying their fall foliage?
Thing is, you’re not exactly “coasting,” and Conner discovered what hard work rowing is by the second day when his blisters started to rear their ugly heads. And while he relished the soreness of his muscles and gained great satisfaction from perfecting the rowing technique that alluded him the first day but seemed natural to him by the fourth, he contemplated the dedication and commitment that would be required of him — and me — if he decided to continue for the rest of the season. And ultimately he decided it wasn’t for him.
And I was more than okay with that. After all, he had tried it, and considered it seriously. That was enough for me. Just because you try something doesn’t mean you have to do it.
And besides the cost — which was daunting — the time commitment on my part as well as his was prohibitive. Naturally, rowing requires a river. And the river is downtown, through traffic and construction, and not exactly next door to our house. And it required me driving, every day, twice a day, to take him and pick him up. Yes, we were hoping to share that duty with at least one other rower and family, but Dayton Rowing involves kids from all over the Dayton area, and during our one week we had still not managed to become acquainted with anyone who lived in our little part of suburbia.
The Dayton Area Rowing offers Varsity- and Beginner-level rowing. The two differ in cost and time commitment.
- Varsity practices six days a week, costs $400, and competes in three Regattas, all out of town.
- Beginner practices three days a week, costs $250, and competes in the first two Regattas with the Varsity.
Unlike other sports, the level you participate in is dictated more by your own preference rather than in your ability. I learned that, in Rowing, success is mainly determined by persistence and commitment. The coach told me that, if he had his druthers, he would go to any school and pick out his rowers from the Academic Honor Roll with no regard for natural athletic ability. High-achieving students often possessed the dedication and determination that inevitably turned them into successful rowers. (Maybe this is why it’s associated with so many Ivy League schools?)
Rowers who could one day earn a college scholarship, I must add. Did you know that female rowers, in particular, are sought after by many university rowing teams? They’re needed to off-set all of the scholarships given out to football players and the like. The coach told me that one of their senior rowers just received a full-tuition rowing scholarship to a nearby university — and it was her first year of rowing! Just something you might want to consider for your ambitious daughter looking ahead to how she’s going to pay for a college degree…
But not for Conner — who, besides being a guy, has decided that rowing is just not for him. Which is okay! Rowing is certainly not for everyone. And I think if Conner had decided to stick it out for a season and I’d been driving him back and forth, to and fro, for these past two-plus months? I probably would have gone off the deep end. Pun intended. We’ve just had so much going on, physically and emotionally, with John’s move to California and trying to sell this house and still not selling this house and not knowing when the kids and I will be joining their dad and blah-blah-blah. I’m not sure I could have handled the extra burden, as much as I would have wanted to support Conner’s commitment, had he decided to make one.
And this is besides the $400 we would have forked out.
And it’s not like Conner’s brother and sister haven’t haven’t been keeping me busy with activities of their own. In the spirit of Changing Minds, at the beginning of the year Olivia also decided she didn’t want to be involved in Girl Scouts (Brownies) after all. I lost the $12 I had paid at the beginning of the summer for pre-registration, but tore up the $30 check I was giving for the annual fee.
But never fear! For Olivia replaced that relatively cheap activity with one much more expensive: gymnastics!
- $40 Gymnastics registration fee.
- $279 for Gymnastics: $93/mth. (Olivia started in October.)
- $382.50 for Dance (Jazz, Tap & Ballet): $22.50/wk.
- $350 for Karate: 3 mths.
- Total: $1,051.50.
Ooch. It kinda hurts seeing it all in black and white like that.
And to think, Olivia wanted to take Karate, too. And she’s wondering when she gets to take swimming lessons again. And when she can start learning to play the trumpet…
She’s a whirling dervish, that one.
How about you? What’s the damage for your Fall activities? Anyone out there spending more than I am?
Oh, and stay tuned. Coming up next month will be a summary of what we’ve spent on kids’ activities for the entire year.
And no, I have never faced tallied anything like that before. I might need to gird myself with some extra fortification for that one.