activities

Why My Daughter Plays Baseball Instead Of Ballet

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When my daughter was a baby, it was quickly apparent that she was going to be an active kid. Even in the womb she was rarely still. I felt her stretch and kick constantly and I had a feeling she would be that way “on the outside” too.

Claire is now nearly seven years old and my initial feelings have been right all along. As a baby, she hit all of her physical milestones early and while I didn’t think it meant she was Super Baby, I did wonder if the fact that she went from walking at nine months to practically jogging at ten meant anything for her future. Turns out that it did- since pre-school, she has been running like a gazelle with little effort and now loves sports of all kinds.

That said, the world at large does not always seem to understand why my daughter plays baseball (and basketball, swimming and starting this fall, soccer) instead of taking dance or gymnastics. I cannot tell you how many times over the last several years I have been asked by people if she takes dance and when I tell them she does not I get varied responses but it mostly boils down to “OH, really? Why not??” I will say- I hear this mostly from moms with all boys. I have more than one in my life that lament not having a daughter to put in hair bows and enroll in ballet classes but I am just not that girl and most importantly, neither is Claire. There is positively nothing wrong with wanting to do those things for your daughter but there is also nothing wrong with not wanting to. Especially if your little girl doesn’t give a flip either.

That said, I did have her in dance class for a total of two months the fall she turned four. I caved to the pressure and decided I might be doing her a disservice by not at least letting her try. She did fine- fell in line with the rest of the girls and listened attentively- but she was not very jazzed by it and after adding up the costs, I decided it was not worth our time and money. So I pulled her. She shrugged and kept playing dollhouse when I told her and then never asked me about it again. I knew we had made the right choice.

I will say that I had some concerns initially with enrolling her in sports where she would be the only girl or one of very few. I belong to a parenting forum and have read several posts over the years from moms annoyed that their young son’s sports teams were “mostly girls” or if they had even a few girls- as if that devalued their son’s experience somehow. As much as I am all “kick ass, girl power” I have to admit that I’ve always felt almost defensive about Claire participating in traditionally boy-centric sports because I didn’t want other parents disappointed by her presence. I am not stupid- I know there will always be other parents that might feel that a girl could bring down the level of play but now, I truly do not care. Worst case, there might be whispers in the stands. Best case, (as what happened this past baseball season), she will show everyone that girls are MORE than capable of playing these male-dominated sports and basically, rocking it. This season, it was the other moms who cheered the loudest when she was up to bat and it was awesome (teeny mom brag- she only struck out once all season- so proud).

I know the way she fits in and her skill level being on par with the boys will likely change over the next few years as the boys grow bigger and stronger but for now, she is where she belongs. When I saw her blithely doing the moves in ballet class her disinterest was palpable. When I saw her stride to home plate for the first time with her bat swinging at her side and a gleam in her eye I knew she was absolutely where she belonged. You can tell by her face that she knew it too.

photo(2)

Even with a broken arm she was still all about it.

(Image: Pete Pahham/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post’s author, Valerie Williams, on Twitter or via e-mail at [email protected]

91 Comments

  1. NoMissCleo...JustMe

    July 12, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I love this post because this is my daughter. She sneered at my suggestion of trying out a dance class this fall and instead excitedly exclaimed that she wants to play both baseball AND soccer.

    Luckily, most of the people we’ve encountered don’t question our daughter playing sports because they know that both my husband and I are/were girls’ coaches (volleyball and basketball).

    Personally (and I’m probably a bit biased), I think that putting girls in sports is one of the best things you can do for your daughter developmentally. The social and personal skills a young girl can learn about teamwork, dedication, determination, and overcoming obstacles is invaluable.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

      Yeahhh for girls in sports!! I completely agree- I am so glad she loves playing sports because my husband and I have both long felt it would be beneficial for her on so many levels. She is a very agreeable kid and probably would have stayed in dance forever if i kept signing her up so I am glad we thought to expose her to other things to see what she was really into. Baseball has been SO good for her but sadly, in talking to some of our league’s softball coaches (she has to do baseball until she is 8 in our league) so many parents have no idea their daughters can play on the “boy” teams until they are old enough for softball! Claire was literally one of three girls in the entire coach pitch league and one of the softball coaches told me most of her team of 8-year old’s every year includes mostly girls who have barely picked up a ball and bat in their whole lives. Knowing this makes me so glad we have her in baseball now- she will have a big advantage by age 8! Not to mention, she has a freaking blast playing!!

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 9:35 am

      I think that’s the route we’re probably going to go with baseball, but our area also has flag football and I’m interested to see if she wants to eventually play that, too.

      My SIL is the head girls’ bball coach at our local high school and my husband is the head girls’ bball coach at a middle school that feeds the high school, so between the two of them, my girl spends a LOT of time in a gym between October and February. 🙂 She just went to basketball camp last week for a few hours and had no problem suiting up in a penny and jumping into a basketball game with the early elementary kids. My husband was a WEE bit proud, to say the least.

      Not gonna lie though, I’m in Texas and my FB feed is flooded with little girls in glittery dance costumes and big ole hair bows. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on something with my girl, but then I think about “dance moms” and I know I wouldn’t fit in with their bedazzled t-shirts. 😉

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

      That is AWESOME!! How cool for your daughter!!! My brother is a phys ed teacher and baseball fanatic so he’s been drilling our kids since they could walk. 🙂 And yes, I can imagine the bows and ballet pressure is big down south! I do hear it sometimes here but I’m sure it’s worse there!

  2. js argh

    July 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Damn, I wish my mom had been more like this. While I was growing up, she was consistently verbal about wishing I was more “feminine.” I was fortunate that I realized early on that it said more about her insecurities than about me, but it was still hard hearing it all the time.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 9:41 am

      That bums me out. 🙁 Probably a generational thing and also, insecurities. Girls can do pretty much anything now and I am happy our daughters can reap those benefits.

    • js argh

      July 12, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Agreed. Whether my daughter wants to go to dance or play soccer (or anything in between), she isn’t going to hear reinforcement of gender stereotypes or condemnation from me, and I’ll be damned if her grandma will be allowed to say anything to or in front of her about it.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Absolutely. If she loved dance, that is totally what she would be doing!! As much as my interests are not very girly, I would not impose that on her. But when I saw her towering over the teeny dancer girls I knew she was not in her element. Lol. She is big and strong and sports is where it’s at for her. I’m glad we live in a time where she can do it all!!

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 10:08 am

      I’m almost 31 and I feel like I was part of the first generation of girls who benefitted from Title IX for their whole lives. The great thing that I’ve noticed is that there are FAR more club and select opportunities for girls than there used to be. When I was in school, only the REALLY awesome girls qualified to play select, but now there are clubs and teams for all levels of female athletes from complete beginners to college prospects.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Agreed. Actually, when I left high school in 2000, there was a group of younger high school girls petitioning to allow girls to play on the boy’s lacrosse team because there was no program for girls to play. Now, nearly every high school has a program for girl’s lacrosse. I think it’s great how far we have come!!

    • Lackadaisical

      July 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

      That sound odd to me because here in England lacrosse is pretty much a posh girls game. Where I grew up the girls schools played hockey, netball and tennis, unless you were very posh in which case also lacrosse, and boys played football (the soccer one), cricket and rugby (like American football but no armour). Lacrosse is a bit … St. Trinian’s.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport here in north Texas.

  3. Andrea

    July 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

    There are several all girl teams/leagues around my area. Upwards Sports (which are non competitive) have boy teams and girl teams for both soccer and baseball. Swimming of course is co-ed, but girls compete with girls and boys compete with boys; but they are all at the same meets and practices.

    Is that not the way it is everywhere?

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 9:47 am

      It might be her age but I don’t see anything for her yet that its all girls! Her basketball team this year was co-ed (and she was the only girl) and t-ball and baseball are co-ed until she turns 8 and can play softball. She could still play baseball, though. I think it’s co-ed all the way thru in our league as long as you pass muster at try-outs. We actually have a 13-year old local girl playing majors and she is now the home-run record holder for the entire league- the only girl in the league! I thought that was amazing. 🙂

  4. CW

    July 12, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I’m surprised the sports teams are coed. Where I live, the boys and girls are on separate teams. For example, Little League has baseball for the boys and softball for the girls. Football is nominally coed but in practice it’s almost all boys and the girls do cheer.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

      What if a girl wants to play football?

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 10:14 am

      It was funny- when C played basketball this year, there was a cheerleader thing going on in conjunction with it and the cheerleaders would come thru during their games and do a few cheers and leave. C knew half of them from school so girls she was friends with were cheering for her when she played basketball. Lol. I asked her if she wished she had done cheer and she literally laughed at me. I love her. 🙂

    • SunnyD847

      July 12, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      The cheer programs here are seriously competitive. Those girls are athletes. It looks more dangerous than football to me.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      The best cheerleaders in my area don’t actually cheer for their high schools anymore because they are too busy with their competitive cheer team. Plus…club teams across the board are more popular because that’s where the NCAA recruiters go – one stop at a tournament and you can see tons of potential signees instead of traveling around from high school to high school looking at this kid, then that kid.

    • Ursi

      July 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Decades ago where I lived there was an occasional girl in Little League baseball. It’s a different enough game than softball that I could see why.

  5. MellyG

    July 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I think, with any activity, the kid should be interested, and not forced by the parents. Having said that, there seems to be a very anti-dance tone in the article and the comments, as if it’s not athletic or if it’s girly. here’s just one article destroying the “girly myth” http://ballet.isport.com/ballet-guides/myths-about-ballet – not to mention, for good dancers to do what they do, they have to be in better shape than most “athletes” (i put that in quotes because most people don’t consider them athletes, but trust me they are)

    I don’t think any kid should be pushed into one thing, or something they don’t want to do, but just like i would have never scoffed or bristled at someone questioning why i wasn’t in baseball, let’s not bristle or take offense at the other side.

    Honestly, dance (even ballet, but more so jazz and tap) is SO exhausting and SO cardio driven that other parents were probably shocked your daughter wasn’t in dance because she’s so active, not because she’s a girl

    (For the record, i’ve danced for 3 decades, and always with male dancers, who were not remotely girly!)

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 10:51 am

      I can bristle at whatever I like, thanks. I doubt anyone ever feels their daughter is out of place at dance class but I knew unless my daughter kept up with the 11 boys on her team there would be whispers in the stands about whether she belonged there. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t bristle about.

    • MellyG

      July 12, 2014 at 11:34 am

      wow, that’s a lot of attitude. I usually like mommyish because of the fact that people can comment, politely (which i did) and have an actual discussion. I’m sorry you can’t take criticism. It might not have been meant as such, but took the tone as “yay, i’m letting my daughter do something non girly” – and while you should be praised for letting your daughter pick her activities, and what SHE enjoys, i don’t think we need to bash the activities she does NOT enjoy to do so!

      If you can bristle at what you like, I’m also allowed to bristle at the fact that so many people think dance is “girly” – but if they educated themselves, they’ find it’s far from “girly”

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:48 am

      🙂 It is somewhat rude to try to tell someone what they can and can’t get upset over.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:49 am

      And seriously, where did I bash dance? I knew I would get at least one of these so I was careful in my wording. Are you offended that dance bored my daughter? So odd to find that as bashing.

    • CMJ

      July 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      I don’t get it. Not one bit.

    • SunnyD847

      July 12, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      When I saw the title I was prepared to be annoyed by another article portraying girls who buck gender stereotypes as somehow better than those who enjoy traditionally “girly” activities. I did not find that tone in this article at all, thanks 🙂

    • Valerie

      July 13, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Thanks!!

    • js argh

      July 12, 2014 at 11:01 am

      An article about one girl being disinterested in dance classes does not mean that this article is “anti-dance.” I took from the article that they were pursuing the activities that she was more interested in.

      ETA: Plus I think the author’s point (and correct me, Valerie, if I’m wrong), is that regardless of the athletic ability involved, dance is stereotypically seen as a “girl” activity and sports are stereotypically seen as a “boy” activity. She was bothered by the fact that people assume that just because her child is a girl, that she should be involved in dance and not sports.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Yes, absolutely correct!!!

    • MellyG

      July 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

      That’s fine, but I’m allowed to dislike something that continues to portray dance as solely a “girl” activity when it’s not

      not to mention, i see dance as a sport – so i lump them together. There is very little about ballerinas that is “girly”,and i was lucky enough, i guess, to have people around me growing up (including an athletic director) recognize how athletic dance really is. I wish more would do the same

      i just don’t think anything ever has to be an “or” – why do little girls have to be the “Dance type” OR the “baseball type’ – can’t they be both?

    • js argh

      July 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      I’m not really sure why you’re arguing, because we’re all clearly on the same page as far as not liking gender stereotypes.

      “That’s fine, but I’m allowed to dislike something that continues to portray dance as solely a ‘girl’ activity when it’s not”

      I think you may have misread the article, because there was nowhere that the author said that dance is only for girls; only that other people had implied or outright said such TO her. No one’s arguing your right to dislike anything that stereotypes dance as a female-only activity.

    • CMJ

      July 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      But I don’t think the author is portraying it that way….the people she’s interacting with are portraying it that way. And I definitely didn’t read anywhere where she was saying baseball was more of a sport or more athletic than dance…

      And this is coming from a theater dance nerd who also loves baseball. (like has the game on backstage so I can check the score)

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      But when children are young, dance typically isn’t about the athleticism but instead…the tutus, leotards, bows and other “girly” things. It’s not until the dancer gets older does it turn more competitive and athletic. I don’t see this article as anti-dance, but instead anti-other people making assumptions about what children should do based on their gender.

    • SunnyD847

      July 12, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      I deliberately picked a studio for my daughter that was very low-key and didn’t have glitzy recitals with expensive costumes. It was just about dancing.

  6. Bethany Ramos

    July 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

    She’s adorable!!

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Awwww thanks! I love that pic so much- it is so her and very much sums up her feelings about baseball. 🙂

  7. Jessie

    July 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

    You are one seriously badass mom. You know your daughter is where she belongs, and she knows it too, and you are fully behind her on it. Bravo!

    I was one of those ballet/dance girls myself, since I was three years old my mom had me dance classes, but I had always wished to be in little league or something with my brother as well, but my parents wouldn’t let me since that was a “boy” thing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved dance class, and to this day dancing is a deep passion of mine, but I just wish my parents had been more open to giving me the chance to do more than just “girl” stuff. Right on for letting your daughter do what makes her happy. 😀

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Awww thanks!! I just love seeing her happy and shining. Whether that was in ballet slippers or cleats I would make it happen. 🙂

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:30 am

      And that’s a bummer you didn’t get to try other things!! I’m glad our generation views this kind of thing so much differently.

  8. Ursi

    July 12, 2014 at 11:18 am

    “I will say- I hear this mostly from moms with all boys. I have more than one in my life that lament not having a daughter to put in hair bows and enroll in ballet classes ”

    This attitude drives me NUTS.

    There is nothing stopping you from putting your son in ballet classes except one’s own internal prejudice and an irrational fear of what people will think. Absolutely nothing.

    Let the child decide the activity, not the gender.

    • Valerie

      July 12, 2014 at 11:28 am

      I know!! And my boy plays baseball too and loves it but he has recently asked if he can learn to dance “like Pharrell”. Lol. I’m looking for a hip hop class for five year olds this fall. 🙂

      And one of the moms who asked me about dance was our first baseball coaches wife! She had two boys and was all “oh if we had a girl she would be in dance right now!” Uhh what if she didn’t want to be??

    • AugustW

      July 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      My seven year old nephew really wants to do ballet or some other kind of dance class but his father refuses.

    • Ursi

      July 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      That’s so sad. Especially as classical ballet is a level of athleticism few sports can compete with. What on earth is the objection?

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      Has the man never seen how a ballet dancer is built? Tell him to watch the girls screaming over the male contestant on So You Think You Can Dance.

      If nothing else, maybe your nephew can find a hip-hop group to join? Dad might be more receptive to that.

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  9. carmar

    July 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Good on you! I was often the only girl on my baseball team….and was the only girl on the hockey team. If anything I think it made me work harder to prove that I could ‘hang’ with the guys. I remember being both excited and disappointed when our little league finally started a girls softball division.

    Oh, and while your daughter doesn’t like to both dance and sport, for everyone else- it is entirely possible to have a daughter who goes from dance class to being the soccer goalie. Also found out tights are a great way to keep your legs warm in cold Northeast winter

  10. A Feminist

    July 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    It shouldn’t be about “level of play” when it comes to children’s sports. They’re there to have fun. The point should be that everyone gets to have fun. If we teach all-inclusiveness early we can finally stamp out a lot of gender stereotypes. There is plenty of time to compete in high school, and even then the team’s should be decided by skill level, not gender.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 12, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      But for some kids, having a high level of play IS the fun part. And the way the system is currently set up, if you want to truly compete in high school, the “level of play” at earlier ages has to be set at a high bar.

    • A Feminist

      July 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Perhaps we can split them earlier, then. Some kids want to just play for fun, but some take it seriously. We should design a system where both goals are able to be accomplished. If we don’t, someone is getting left out. But you make a good point.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      July 13, 2014 at 9:45 am

      They do. They are called rec and club/select. The split usually happens late elementary or in middle school, depending on the sport.

  11. Kitsune

    July 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I’m actually more nervous that my son will want to do more traditional sports since neither I or my husband have any interest in them. We both fenced in college and I rode for years but that’s about it. I’d be supportive of course but I’m worried about mustering up enthusiasm. Of course he’s seven months old so I have some time figure it out.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      My son asked about fencing after seeing some kids demonstrating at a community expo recently – unfortunately, the local group recommends not starting until age 8, so he’s got a few years to go!

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      July 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      I really want to try fencing. They have beginner classes at my university and I’m very tempted!

      Also, I’d love to learn archery, especially after watching the movie Brave. Hell yeah, I want to do archery from horseback. 😉

    • Kitsune

      July 12, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      I’ve been hugely tempted to try archery and Brave is definitely a part of it. I partially learned sabre because that was the style that originated on horseback. 🙂

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      July 13, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      That’s awesome. 🙂

    • Kitsune

      July 12, 2014 at 9:56 pm

      I didn’t start till college but I loved it. I fenced sabre, which is the only one you can use the edge with. It does require focus so I understand the wait on age. The 18 year old novices I would teach would be difficult enough sometimes.

  12. Jessica Johnson

    July 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Dance classes might help her a little later in her sports career. I know for a while there were a bunch of guys in the NFL who were taking ballet, because it really helps your football skills. I mean, it improves balance, strengthens your legs, improves reflexes and agility… So, even if she never does become a girly-girl, dance might be something to do in the off season.

  13. JJ

    July 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    My friend tried to put her daughter in dance class when she was little and she was just not into it. At all. she looked adorable in her tutu but she basically spent the whole time not being into it and just looking for her parents so she could go home. They put her in soccer and she loved it and still loves it. As adorable as little ballet dancers are, I do admit I can’t help but go awwwww, you can’t make your kid something they aren’t or don’t enjoy. We put to much gender pressure on sports and we shouldn’t have to. Anybody who likes baseball, basketball or soccer should be able to like.

    t also ticked me off in gym class as a kid growing up when the majority of the girls minus me and some of the other athletic girls just sat there every class making a million excuses of why they could never play or try. “I’m on my period sir” or “I wore the wrong shoes” or “I don’t feel like it”. I know gym classes wasn’t always the best class and some people had legitimate reasons for not participating (medical reasons etc) but a lot of the time it was just reinforced sexism often by the girls or women themselves.

  14. wispy

    July 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Love it and I’m so glad I came here and saw this just now. I just read those 2 articles on Today’s FB page about “10 things to know about raising a boy” and “9 things about raising a girl.” The girl one made me seethe. The comments on the boy one made me irate. One on there was like “There is such a special place in heaven for mama’s of little boys.” Oh and there’s not for girls?? Kids are individuals! I could not stand dance for the year I did it and my parents immediately took me to softball and I’m so glad they did!

  15. AugustW

    July 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I’m currently debating between baseball, soccer and swimming for my 3 1/2 year old girl. She’s speech delayed so she can’t just pick one, and I want her to enjoy whatever it is she does so….is dunno. She likes playing tee ball in the yard with her cousins.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Can she go and try a session of each? Some programs will let you go to a session to watch or try before you commit. She might not be able to tell you what she’d like, but you could get a sense from watching her what she liked best.

      Although, speaking as someone who grew up near water, I do 100% believe that every child should learn how to swim – at least enough to be comfortable in the water and get back to the edge of a pool if they fall in.

    • SunnyD847

      July 12, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      I recommend swimming because it is such an important life skill. Also, the Y had a program called Pee Wee sports that rotated the kids through several different sports so they could try them out before committing to any one for a full session.

  16. pixie Ninja Tits

    July 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    This is awesome, and your daughter is adorable, Valerie. 🙂

    I grew up doing martial arts. My parents and I saw the jiu-jitsu place doing a demonstration at some local event when I was about 5 and I appeared interested (I have no recollection of this). Since at that time they recommended waiting until a kid was 6 before starting them in it, my dad waited and when I was about 6 and a half he asked me if I wanted to do jiu-jitsu (I do remember that), and I agreed even though I had no idea what it was I was agreeing to. He signed me up and I have done it ever since. I wasn’t the only girl, but I was basically the only one that went regularly and stayed with it who was at my belt and skill level. My friends growing up were the boys I trained with. Even in competitions I fought mostly boys because most of the girls were either younger than me or lower ranked than me; and even when I was 10-13, I was still winning against the boys over half the time. I also swam, did diving for a bit, did a second martial art for a couple years, and started horseback riding when I was 14 (the other sport that I still continue to do). I also played rugby for 3 years when I was in high school and would LOVE to get back into it.

    My parents didn’t put me in dance or gymnastics or any of the “girly” things because they’re really, REALLY expensive. Martial arts can be expensive, depending on the place you go, but the club I belong to basically makes zero profit; all the money they receive goes to paying the bills (rent, etc) and replacing equipment if needed. Instructors aren’t paid and do it because they love it, not because it’s a job. Even the head instructor/founder had a day job and didn’t get any money from the club.
    I’m all for kids doing what they love and are interested in. When I have my own kids I’ll never say no to letting them try out an activity they’re interested in as long as I can afford it. It wouldn’t matter if my son wanted to do ballet or my daughter wanted to play rugby or vice versa. As long as they enjoy it and I can afford it, I would be happy to let them participate in any sport.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      There’s a couple of martial arts programs here that start around age 5 and 6, and one program called “little ninjas” which is basically movement play, but incorporates some basic forms. I can see both my kids testing it out, especially given Alicia’s remarkable ability in utero to repeatedly punch/kick the exact same spot over and over and over….

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      July 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      I’m a big supporter of martial arts, and I know you’ve mentioned it before, so I think that’s really great. 🙂
      And I bet Alicia will be a natural at it. 😉

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      I’m pretty sure she will too, especially given that she already tries to mimic the martial arts moves she sees on superhero shows! The focus thing, well…let’s just say at this point that’s a bit more iffy 🙂

    • Valerie

      July 13, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Awwww thanks Pix!! I think it’s awesome that you got to do martial arts as a kid! I don’t think it would have occurred to my mom to let me do that and I prob would have loved it!!

  17. Katherine Handcock

    July 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Claire sounds like an older version of my daughter Alicia! She’s been busy since in utero too 🙂 I’m 100% sure Alicia will be joining a softball team when she’s older — she already throws a wiffle ball in the air for herself and tries to hit it — and here there’s an extremely active girls’ league, which is awesome. Actually, I could see Alicia becoming one of those kids who just switches sports with the seasons…

    The one exception is that Alicia does do gymnastics, because she LOVES flipping upside down, and that I can picture her trying dance because she loves to move to music. But if she didn’t have any interest in those two things, who cares? Get ’em moving however they want to move!

    • Valerie

      July 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Gymnastics is awesome!! I would have signed up Claire but she didn’t seem into it and is super tall so i thought maybe it wouldn’t be for her anyway judging by the size of the average Olympic gymnast. 🙂 Go Alicia!!

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 13, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Fortunately, on the recreational size it doesn’t really matter their height — and Alicia really does LOVE to flip around. Even the coaches at her parent-tot gymnastics classes comment on her fearlessness. So I figured she’d better learn how to do it in a legit fashion before she experiments with it on her own 😉

      I just showed Alicia the picture of Claire, and she cheered, “Woo! Baseball girl!” 🙂

  18. Megan Zander

    July 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    This could not have posted at a better time- I took my boys to their first gymnastics class this morning ( bc toddlers climb on everything so why not let it be safe stuff) and felt a bit out of place when the entire rest of the class was girls. But after reading this- screw it. Yay Claire!

  19. AP

    July 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I’m going to take the minority opinion. If I had a daughter, I would NOT want her in dance, especially ballet.

    I have a very good friend who was a prima ballerina, but opted to go to regular college instead of auditioning for the top performing arts programs. The stories she tells me about being a high-level dancer are utterly horrifying. Verbal abuse, body abuse, instructors forcing girls into eating disorders, etc, and of course, extreme competition, hostility, and backbiting between the dancers. She spent puberty seriously underweight and still has health problems because of it.

    That is not a healthy environment for a child and I would never expose a child of mine to it. Maybe I’d allow the “this class is an excuse for 4-year-olds to wear tutus” kind of dance lesson, but nothing serious. There’s far more productive ways to spend your time and money than destroying your little one’s body and mind.

    • SunnyD847

      July 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      One of my daughters has been dancing for about 8 years now. I definitely share your concerns, but as long as she loves it I will support her. The studio where she dances has dancers of many body types, even in their academy and ensemble programs, so that makes me feel somewhat better. If I didn’t feel it was a healthy environment for her, we’d be gone.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 13, 2014 at 6:49 am

      I think it very much depends on the studio. I would want to evaluate a studio VERY carefully before I sent either of my kids for ballet. One of the reasons I didn’t sign my daughter up for an intro dance class yet (she’s 3 1/2) was because the studios I talked to said they start practicing for the June show IN JANUARY. Seriously? Six months of practicing a routine – for the 3-year-olds? At that point, I was like, “Well, we’re out. Maybe see you in a few years if she declares she wants to dance.” Because I’m not getting her into a class that focused when the reason we thought of it in the first place is because she seems to like moving to music.

  20. aCongaLine

    July 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I take great pride in the fact that my daughter has requested a “Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday Cake, OH BOY OH BOY YES PLEASE!” for her birthday. We play trains in princess dresses.. it’s all good. She’ll probably play baseball, too 🙂

  21. brebay

    July 12, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    This just seems like a non-issue to me. Maybe it’s just where I live, but I’m 40 and grew up with a ton more girls who played sports than who danced. I was the oddball for doing ballet. Girls have been playing sports for decades now, I don’t think this is really a thing.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 13, 2014 at 6:47 am

      There’s a weird dynamic in some places where ALL girls dance, and then some of them also do other sports. Seriously, dance is pretty well universal for girls over 4 in some areas. So people would get totally confused if there was a girl who wasn’t ALSO dancing, even if they were totally understanding about a girl playing sports.

    • brebay

      July 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      That’s truly bizarre, never lived anyplace where anyone cared what activities other peoples’ kids did unless it was something unconventional or controversial like pageants or skydiving or something.

    • Katherine Handcock

      July 14, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Yeah, it’s very strange. I haven’t lived someplace like that (although I’ve heard about it), but where we lived when my son was born, it was directed towards the boys — EVERY boy took hockey. Nobody would have been particularly bothered if he also took, say, cooking classes, or craft classes, but if he wasn’t taking hockey? Weird.

      I know, I know, very Canadian 😉

  22. OptimusPrime*

    July 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    As a girly-girl (who is craptastic at sports, btw), I think it’s awesome that she’s found something that she loves AND is good at. I’d say the same if it was your son who happened to love ballet or your goldendoodle that was killing it in cooking competitions. :–)

  23. guest

    July 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I’m so glad my mom didn’t give two hoots about dance classes for me. She put me in sports just like my brothers. I took swimming lessons, tennis lessons, gymnastics, tball/softball, volleyball, etc. Also, all the neighborhood girls were in the same sports so it was about 50/50 on the teams. If I wanted to stop doing a sport, my mom let me.
    I don’t like to knock dance but I was friends with many “dance girls” in high school and met their “dance moms” and it isn’t something I’d want to partake in. I did know some others who did dance only outside of school though and really loved it and thrived on it.

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