Getting a grip

My mum used to think that I would only want to do something until she had spent a fortune on it. Then I would drop it like a stone.

My enthusiasm was directly linked to the lack of commitment we had shown to that point.

First there was the cubs. When I was allowed to go in my own clothes, I loved it. Then once she’d paid out for the uniform I stopped going.

The same, she claimed, happened with BMX riding. I was never off my bike on the street, but the minute she bought all the gear – helmet and pads – the love died.

There was always more to it than that.

Cubs was on a Friday at the same time my Dad (parents were divorced) would drive down to our static caravan on the south coast. For the first month or so he would delay going down, but it was clearly easier to leave straight after school to avoid the rush hour traffic.

Something had to give. Cubs wasn’t that great.

Same with racing a BMX. The only track near to our house needed a car to get to, and a parent to be available all day. They weren’t, so I didn’t.

I used to make similar accusations of LLK. There was a point where she wanted to do everything. So we tried to accommodate it.

She said she liked Basketball, so we went to a few Leeds Force games to whet her appetite. It didn’t last.

Then there was karate. She rattled through the belts with ease, but it always felt like a chore getting her to go.

Again, there were caveats. She wanted to go to the basketball because she thought I wanted to go. I only wanted to go for her. We stopped as soon as we realised.

Likewise she loved the contact form of karate but laboured with the monotony of the moves. She never felt like she got to grips with it. So she stopped. Which was fair enough.

What she has got to grips with is bouldering. Taken on a whim, it’s now the thing she hates most if she misses it. To the extent that – like my Dad and I before – we often have to delay trips leaving on a Friday night so that she can go.

So every Friday, outside the school holidays, she packs her chalk bag and clambers up the artificial wall at The Climbing Lab in Leeds. She’s now up to Level 3 of the NIBAS course.

LLK is lucky, as was I, to be given the opportunity to find things we like through doing things we necessarily didn’t. Bouldering is definitely something she loves – her enjoyment is something that gives us great pleasure, also.

Now to work on the boy.

Chris Written by:

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