When it comes to sports and activities, I encourage my kids to branch out and try new things. But I have to admit I was a bit surprised when my daughter Lili said that she wanted to quit gymnastics and try diving lessons instead. Last summer at the town pool, she wasn’t allowed to go off of the diving board because she refused to take the required swim test- not because she couldn’t pass the requirements of swimming one lap and trading water for 2 minutes (she’s a total fish) but because she didn’t want to. A strong-willed woman for sure.
Lili had been taught to drive by her brothers at her uncle’s swimming pool in Florida and she was a natural. So I signed her up for a trial diving lesson at a nearby college campus, based on the recommendation of a good friend whose son is a fantastic diver (at age 11!)….. and Lili instantly fell in love with diving. After warm-ups and stretches they placed a belt around her waist that was attached to two ropes which is used for trampoline practice. Her coach showed her how to do a forward roll and a backward roll and what a perfect diving position into the pool would look and feel like. And then Lili got to go off of the one-meter board. She did all kinds of jumps first- pencil jumps and backwards pencils, and each time she popped up in the pool after her dive with the biggest grin ever on her face.
So two weeks came and went and finally it was time for her first true lesson. Lili was so excited that she actually laid out her swimsuit and her towel the night before, just to have everything “ready to go” ahead of time (Hmmm… wonder where she gets THAT from?). The first class went just as well as the trial lesson- Lili was thrilled at having the chance to practice on the trampoline and then again on the 1-meter board…. the 90-minute lesson went by in a flash.
When the lesson ended and the coach told her that it was time to get out of the pool, Lili hopped out of the water and marched right up to him, pointed to the big 3-meter board and asked him, “When do I get to go off of that?” And he said to her, “Well Lili, how about right now?” Lili nodded her head, went over to the 3-meter board and climbed right up that ladder like a pro. She walked right out onto the diving board and looked at her coach awaiting instruction as to what type of dive he wanted her to do. He asked her to do a simple pencil jump which she did- landing in the water and coming up with the biggest grin on her face! My girl- she is fearless! And I absolutely loved how brilliant the coach was that when Lili asked do to jump off the 3-meter board that he didn’t say, “Okay Lili let’s have you work up to that” or “Let’s practice more on the 1-meter board first” (all of which would have made total sense to me!). The fact that he just said “yes and asked her if she wanted to try it now was so smart to do, because he showed her that there was nothing to be afraid of.
Last week was lesson #2 and this time Lili spent more than half the class using the 3-meter board. I just love watching my kids explore new things that excite them and I especially love how fearless my little girl is.
Her big brother Spencer decided Friday night that he wanted to “go for it” and run in a local 5K race on Saturday morning. He had never done anything like it before- and since I had no experience with road races, I was a little worried- What if he can’t finish? What if he wants to stop? Will I be able to go and pick him up along the course? How will I find him? yada yada yada….
Of course, I needn’t have worried…. (silly Mommy). He did amazing! Finished in about 25 minutes- and was so proud of himself. He can’t wait to do it again!
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