As I’ve already mentioned in the About Us section, sport is a very important part of our lives and we want to acquaint Jan with several disciplines, let him a feel that you can have a lot of fun when playing sports and getting better and better at it. Our goal is to show him that the satisfaction from jogging, swimming or riding a given distance is a reward in itself. To prove that these are not just words, I’d like to introduce Jan The Athlete.
Falling in love with skiing from the first descent
Skiing was the first sport he started practicing. The first time he put on skis was when he was 2.5 yo, on the slope in Limanowa, Poland. The lesson lasted 2 hours and I really don’t know how the instructor did it, but he managed to ski down with Jan from the very top of the slope. Of course, getting down lasted about 40 minutes and Jan was really tired when they reached the feet of the mountain, but that was just the first time. That winter he skied two or three times with instructors, on beginner’s slopes. At this point I need to say that I snowboard, so I wouldn’t be able to teach Jan on my own. Anyway, methinks that if you want a child to really catch a bug, you need to let professionals teach him.
Since then, each year we regularly go to the Alps. In 2013, we took Jan on a trip to Stubaier Glacier in Austria and for a weekly stay in Chamonix (on Grand Montets). Later on, we traveled mainly to Austrian glaciers (Stubaier and Moltaller) and in 2015, just before Christmas, me and Jan set off on our first father&son skiing trip to St. Gervais Le Bains (without paying for a ski instructor). A month later we also went to ski on an Austrian glacier.
This year, we are planning two weekly stays as well. Or maybe three, if we don’t have any ideas for Easter break.
Looking at Jan and listening to how he goes on about skiing, I can say that after these few years he was definitely bitten by a bug for skiing. And I’m glad that we’ve got a companion in our next trips.
Becoming a confident swimmer
The other sport discipline which Jan, strangely, grew fond of a few months ago is swimming. For about 2 years, we went to the swimming pool. That said, I have to admit it – I’m not a good teacher – especially because Jan didn’t feel any respect towards me as a teacher. When Dad says something you can laugh at him and ignore it, telling him to carry you piggyback in the water or spin you around.
That’s why I enrolled Jan in private lessons with an instructor in Willesden Sports Centre. Poor Jan, he must have been a bundle of nerves for 2 weeks, when thinking about having lessons with a professional swimming teacher. And his biggest fear was that the teacher would take him to a deep pool. Now, Jan already feels very confident in water, he starts learning to crawl and dive. When we go to the swimming pool together, he wants to do all the exercises he did with his teacher, again with me. Supposedly, next year Jan will be ready to take part in group classes. As I started swimming only about 3 years ago, treating it to some extent as a competitive sport (as a teenager I hated swimming), and my earlier experience with a swimming pool can’t even be called amateur swimming, I’m now very proud of Jan. As a parent, I missed the period just after his birth, when he should have immediately been thrown in at the deep end. But, it seems to me that we’ll make up for these few years very quickly.
Cycling and jogging – what’s next?
Jan is also an avid cyclist and I’ve recently noticed that he likes jogging. When I or Kate have jogging sessions on weekends, Jan likes to accompany us, riding a bike, or sometimes jogging with us for the first two miles. He recently wrote in his school diary, which he got when leaving infant school, in the “who I want to be” section that he wanted to be a “runner”.
Though, he mentioned basketball as his favourite sports discipline besides skiing (well, I can already see that he’s got my growth genes, so we’ll play together a lot in the future for sure). And the second thing he gets from me is probably the love to pool (as a teenager I used to play it for a few years – and I was quite good at it back then). I can see joy sparkling in his eyes at the sight of a pool table, and if we only have an opportunity, we always play a bit. I’ve already found a pool club in Acton in London, where kids are admitted on Saturday morning. I suppose, in autumn and winter we’ll spend many weekend mornings on hitting balls into a pocket.