Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gymnastika


The highlight of the past week in Colorado were the lessons the girls took at Gymnastika, a wonderful gym in Arvada. I can't say enough about how welcoming the coaches and families were, happily including my daughters and nieces for a week of classes. Sasha Artemev, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, trained there with Alexei Kudria, the Russian-born coach. We also met Valerii, the new coach from Belorussia.


It's such a pity that the girls can't continue with gymnastics like this back in Moscow... You can't just "take a class" to experiment with a new sport there, "trying it out" for the sheer pleasure of it. You either pursue a sport with the intent of becoming a world-class expert, or you don't do it all. You have to begin at around age four, and you're "counseled out" by age seven when it's clear whether or not you have what it takes. Katya was politely removed from figure skating classes after only four sessions when she was just five...

As a result, there's not much I can do for either of the girls when it comes to sports now, other than to encourage they participate in their after-school clubs and in the kids' classes or private lessons at our family gym (where there aren't that many kids, so it's not as much fun as a classes would be in the USA).

There is a very active soccer and basketball league for expat kids that meets on Saturdays up at the Anglo American School, but it's not something we have done for a variety of reasons... With working full-time, I'm too worn out to force the girls to get up early on a Saturday--and to then spend a chunk of the day in the cold. I have to grocery shop on Saturday mornings since I can't do it at any other time... If Katya really, really wanted to do it, I would find a way to make it happen—but her enthusiasm has been lukewarm because she herself is so tired after a long week of school...

3 comments:

Annie said...

I've run into similar situations here. When Sergei first came he wanted so much to play soccer. Well, the school team was just stupid - no discipline whatsoever, and they lost all their games and he hated THAT - but the only other option was the "sign your life away" version of soccer - very expensive, very time-consuming, very intense.

Zhen wants to play football, but I am horrified at not only the cost, but also the four-night-a-week schedule that starts NEXT WEEK! I guess I'll let him do it, but I won't be surprised if he comes to hate it.

I guess we do have the "try it out" classes here, but they are often so undisciplined that they aren't fun (no sense of acomplishment, and sometimes nothing hardly done at all), but the only other choice is the highly intense version.

Annie said...

"nothing hardly" - I don't think that passes the grammar test.

Anonymous said...

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