Finnegan is ten, and up until recently he really wasn’t interested in anything other than dinosaurs and animals. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, we have him in sports; he’s been playing soccer for about six years, and he has wrestled the last two. These pursuits have been fine enough for him; he has gotten through the practices and contests well enough, but much of the time he just hasn’t had that competitive fire; like many kids of that age range, he has wanted to win, he just hasn’t wanted to have to work too hard to make it happen.
He and I started focusing on his baseball skills about a year and a half ago, not because I want him to play organized baseball, but because those are skills that I think a boy should have; you never know when there’s going to be a pick-up game. Finn liked these activities, but he still balked when it came to really working at them.
And then he discovered his passion in sports: Ultimate. Ultimate is a sport that used to be known as Ultimate Frisbee. Yep, the kid just digs Frisbee. He and I are out two or three times a week, and we’d be out more if our schedules allowed, and we just have the best time. We hardly ever have any of the cross words common in such a situation, and that’s because I’m not teaching him anything. He’s getting all of his training on YouTube, largely from a guy named Brodie Smith, who plays for the University of Florida and holds some world records. He knows more than me, because, well, what the heck do I know about Frisbee? Before Finn became interested, the answer to that question was “About as much as the next guy.”
I knew how to throw one, but had never done it enough to be any good at it.
So, he’s basically in charge, which he likes of course, and he does every bit of running and jumping that the sport requires of him. And he wants to do it; he’s passionate about it. He asks to go practice, and he watches game films and videos about it in his downtime and practices new throws when he has nobody to toss with.
One aspect of the sport itself that makes him give more effort than he might if he was running to catch a baseball or football is that, in those situations, you either catch it or you don’t. In Ultimate, “almost” can count; if nobody catches the disc but someone touches it, that team maintains possession. I think that helps open possibilities that inspire more hustle.
Whatever’s doing it, I don’t care. Our son has found a sport that he’s really passionate about, and I can’t see it doing anything but underscoring his growth in all areas.
You parents know how it goes: That thing there is a good thing, and we’ll take it.
I hope that you’re children are healthy, safe, and warm. Much love.