|Yes, By All Means Yes!|
Thursday night was the final session for the Shooter Eldest in gymnastics. She's been doing this for 3+ years now, has gotten to a certain level, and is crazy strong and confident from it... but it's also been a drama-fest of when she was going to get bumped up to a tougher classification, whether or not she was on a team, whether or not she'd ever go to a meet, and so on, and so on. I blame myself, on some level; had I started her in this at a much earlier age, she would have had a better experience, and maybe even have done better in early elementary, since she would have had something we could leverage to keep the grades up. For the past nine months, we've been going to a new school, and while it seemed like a positive for a while, she's plateaued and lost the passion.
Now, this is the hard thing about kid sports: at what point do you push them a little to not reward quitting, and when do you just accept that, well, a 12-year-old gets to decide they want to do something else for awhile, especially when it becomes increasingly apparent that, well, this is following a law of diminishing returns?
Hell if I know, folks. Hell if I know. And the please a coach / please a judge / please a crowd aspect of gymnastics, along with the more or less total lack of team ethos (hell is other gymnasts, from what I can tell) isn't exactly a winning situation. Oh, and don't forget the cost. You want to quit this, kid? Pardon me while I do a merry jig. And then feel horrible for feeling that way... but, well, I'm sure that dance or acting school or Girl Scouts or karate or some such thing will come down the path soon. Or maybe even gymnastics again, after she's been away long enough to really, really miss it. But there's just no way, as a parent, to feel any kind of certainty about this.
The same thing goes for what went down tonight. I was hosting a single-table game at my place, just a few regulars who had expressed an interest in playing a mixed games tournament where you got to try out an 80% HORSE game, for those who know poker. (My modification was to pull out Stud Eight or Better for Pineapple Hold'Em, which seems like a lot more fun anyway.) Having 8 players for this was looking like all kinds of win, until an hour before the game was to start, and we had a cancellation. With no one but trusted friends at the table and really hoping to keep the game 8-handed, I gave an invite to the eldest. (And yes, I put a 12-year-old in her first poker tournament into a PHORS game. It's basically the poker equivalent of catching your kid smoking, then making them light up Cuban cigars. Either you are getting them hooked for life or vomiting...)
A few caveats. It was an emergency opening. Everyone at the table was also a dad, and agreed to the exception. (I normally don't play anyone under 18 play, for obvious reasons.) It wasn't exactly a pricey game -- $25 wind up buying over three hours of hands for her, with no rebuys or add-ons -- and everyone at the table was (a) kind to her, and (b) enjoying her company, in that my eldest is, frankly, a pistol. I also made sure the Shooter Wife was on board and OK with the experience.
And, of course, she proceeded to run into some monster hands early, and was at one point the chip leader, for a fairly deep time slot of the event. Cards and draws started not working for her then, and Omaha did it usual number on a noob, but she still outlasted a couple of my regulars, and had a great time. I don't feel too morally comprised by this, and if it gives one more thing to talk about, the better.
But that's tonight.
If, in a few weeks, she'll be puling for a game every few days while her gymnast body goes to seed, and sitting on her butt watching TV poker?
Not so mch. Not so much at all.
Joy of parenting, no?