Curling. Specifically, with the kids.
It’s actually been a while since I talked about taking both R and the Monster curling, so I thought that I’d give everyone an update as to how our little adventure into athletic endeavors is going.
Just to remind folks about what this is – my club has a “middle rockers” program for 5-preteens, where children learn the basics of curling with half-sized stones over the course of ninety minutes each week. (At about 10-12, kids can start transitioning into our Juniors program, which prepares kids for competitions with regulation-weight stones.) R had begged for most of the summer to try it, and the wife nudged me to take the Monster as well. So we’re three months into the whole shebang, and… I can actually say that both kids are doing well at it.
R is actually somewhat taking to it like a duck to water. He still needs to work on his form when he’s delivering a stone from the hack, but he’s got the basic idea down and is sliding out to the top of the house at least when he comes out of the hack, and he’s reasonably on-broom for a now-five-year-old. We’ve gotten past the middling part where he’s whining about how cold it is in the ice shed (namely because some idiot decided it’d be a great idea to put a 200×75 foot sheet of ice in there instead of a floor, duh), and he’s more enthusiastically participating. I think I spent a good twenty minutes of last week’s session being asked by him across the sheet to watch what he’s doing, or to praise what he’s doing, and that’s a good sign. His sweeping leaves something to be desired but he’s also five, and I don’t think he’s quite getting the concept of what he should be doing yet. (None of the kids, really, are.)
The Monster is participating a lot more now that we’ve resorted to the delivery stick for him. I do feel bad, sometimes, when we’re not really working on sliding with him as much, though he’s never really been doing well at that aspect of the game, given the motor deficits. On the other hand, we’ve progressed from my having to hold the back of the delivery stick when he’s lining up his shots, to my being able to walk along side him and verbally prompt for what he should be doing. (“Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, now push!”) The next thing is, again, to work on his line and attention…. but at least he’s participating, being included in all of the games like any other child, and he seems to be having a good time with it. He too doesn’t sweep well, but that’s a secondary concern.
Given that the Monster is really the first child with special needs we’ve had in the program, I think it’s a very interesting test-bed to figure out how we’d handle it in the future, how we adapt the normal program and what we might do if we had more children with his complications. It’d be helpful if I had contact with other clubs that deal with similar situations… but for now, this definitely works for us.