So when my husband found a local Crossfit box that also had "ninja training" for kids and grown-ups alike, my kids' cheers catapulted him a few notches higher in the Father of the Year standing. We went yesterday, my kids having lost sleep because they were so excited. Would they have the warped wall? The quintuple steps? The double salmon ladder?
Ben (7), more than the other two, was certain he would, in his words, "dominate." In truth, his upper body strength is outstanding. He travels across monkey bars with style and grace and confidence, hanging to showboat for a minute before heading back for another try. He is fast and confident and has a phenomenal track record in his few years in organized sports. If I didn't know about his internal anxiety, I'd say he was cocky.
Lorelei, (nearly 9) on the other hand, is known as the most timid horseback rider in the barn. Though she's not proud of that moniker she agrees with it, though I secretly believe she sees herself blossoming overnight into a confident, take-no-crap rider. Still, she's cautious and careful and rarely (never?) goes all out.
Kiefer (nearly 5) was going to be the youngest kid ever on this ninja course. That's no surprise. He learned to ride a 2-wheeler when he was three, gets spitting-mad when he can't keep up with speedy Ben, and throws himself into everything he does. We were worried that the obstacles would be too big for him, but...there's no way we could leave him at home.
And so we went. And observed our three very different kids on the different obstacles, with a trainer leading them through, giving them pointers as they tried again and again. Cocky Ben went out too fast and didn't slow down and concentrate, so his ego took a hit while Lorelei and Kiefer listened to the teacher, started slowly and then built up speed as they became more confident. Ben regained his composure when all of the upper body obstacles came into play--he was the only one out of all five of us to do the arm rings. But Lorelei's height helped her on the jumping spider. And Kiefer did them all, with the help of the enthusiastic, impressed coach Casey supporting him.
My kids learned a lot. They gained a lot. They were humbled by obstacles they'd only seen on television--obstacles that these athletes made look easier than they were. They got a boost of confidence as each of them did more than they thought they could--they conquered a few things and got close enough to taste victory on a few others. They remembered they were a team and cheered each other on. They had fun testing their physical limits, learned to laugh at themselves, and practiced not quitting.
In sum, in their words, it was "epic." We'll be back.