Tag Archives: swimming

Keeping the kids busy with sports

I do not know how other people tackle this so I can only write from our perspective. Even before Nathan and Nathalie were born we were thinking about what hobbies they might have later on and what sports they might be interested in/ being forced to do by us. Might sound a bit harsh but then again all athletes I know who managed to reach certain levels were the ones who were pushed by their parents during their “difficult years”. All others who could choose for themselves quit their sports latest by the age of 15. Now I do not have any ambitions like that as I want to see for now how Nathan will develop and what his interests are as we are trying to give him broader choice of sports compared to ourselves.

Back in the day at the Finnish Nationals (I was second in the 200m freestyle)

My wife did some sports as a kid in form of table tennis for a couple of years and ballet. Both sports she had to quit as her wonderful mom didn’t see any value in sport activities and instead put her into afterschool programs till evening. Ever since I can remember I was swimming in a club. I started when I was around five and continued till my twenties. I clearly remember when I had no motivation anymore around the age of 13-14 as I did not really improve anymore and my father basically dragged me to each training session by driving behind me in his car to make sure that I actually went to the pool. By the age of 15 I got more than enough motivation to continue as I got suddenly better and better and wanted to push myself as far as possible. During my “prime” I had 21 trainings sessions a week of which were 11 times swimming from Monday will Saturday and 10 dryland sessions (gym, running and even yoga). This resulted each day in over 5 hours of sports and this all while still being a high school students going to class from 7am till 3pm.

Nathan has tons of fun thus far

 

Right now our little Nathan is four years old and is doing once a week Taekwondo. He loves it thus far and is asking us several times a week when the next class is. I actually got the idea for Taekwondo due to my best friend who was in the very same club back in the day and did the sport till he reach the first Dan (first black belt level). I also wanted to try out the sport when I was eight years old but somehow did not dare to really join them as I was a very very shy little boy back then who easily got scared by new things. Nathan is completely different and he joined the other kids in an instant. We will also register him at my old swimming club but for that we have to wait till he is six years old (weird regulations here in Germany I must say). It is actually already 100% sure that he will at least do some swimming in the club, afterall we/ I decided on his name due to the very famous Nathan Adrian!

So why am I writing about this? When I was talking with Nathan’s coach she told us that for the past years less and less kids are continuing the sport once they finished elementary school. Usually the kids have multiple sports/ other activities each week and can’t focus on any properly which results that barely any athlete in the club is performing on any higher level, not even reaching the State Championships. The last one who managed it to even European Championship level was their daughter (both parents are coaching at the club and her husband has even 7th Dan!). So growing up with such parents a kid has the best possibilities to reach something in the sport or sadly they might also crumble under the pressure.

He tries his best and it is funny to see his clumsy attempts when doing some kicks

All friends we have with kids do not want their children to do any sports. In their opinion sports are a waste of time and the kids will only get hurt. I on the other hand believe that a sort of competition in young years is useful for the child in order to grow. Here in Germany is even a discussion still going on to remove sports competition from schools as some kids will feel left out and even to remove grades in PE.

Were you doing sports when you were young?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily

Advertisements

Holidays in Greece

WP_20140803_16_28_08_ProThe past week I was with my little family on holidays in Greece, to be more precise on the famous island Rhodes. Right from the beginning I must admit that we were more of the lazy tourists kind as we did not go out to see any sights such as the city of Rhodes itself. Okay, maybe not only because we were lazy but because traveling with a little baby in +35 degrees celsius/ 95 degrees fahrenheit is not really the smartest option (hey, I need at least some kind of excuse for just sleeping at the beach…).

 

Our plane left Helsinki on sunday afternoon and we arrived in our hotel room in late evening hours. Due to the late arrival we had no dinner but we had a great view over Rhodes (city) by night which is pretty impressive! The hotel itself was advertised as a family hotel and there were a lot of families with their young kids there. The hotel/ trip organizer offered for kids a daycare option to give the exhausted parents some rest. This was no option for us a Nathan is just too young for that and anyways he is perfectly happy by eating and sleeping the entire day.

rhodos4
View from the beach

 

Our days were actually really busy even though we had mostly nothing but being at the beach, at the pool, eat and go during evening hours to the nearby village. For me being lazy and at the same time to be feeling busy and exhausted at the end of the day is something new to me! Usually I went for a short 2km swim in the “action” pool each morning before breakfast, went with my wife and baby to the beach and later on to the pool area and finished the day with a great dinner and stroll around the village.This was the first real holiday I have ever had. Before I only went to sunny places for swimming camps, in my childhood I went during summer holidays to our cottage which is in the end mostly work and the China trips were usually to be with the Chinese family, eat a lot and go overweight back to Finland.

 

rhodos11
Someone wants some dessert?

 

Remember that my wife belongs to that Chinese majority who can’t swim (I know, it’s very embarrassing for me as a former professional swimmer)? As she really wanted to enjoy the ocean as well we got her an air mattress to float at the shore. No, she was never in rhodos5danger as I watched out that nothing happened and besides, she was also only as far as her feet could touch the ground. To her dismay her skin got tanned! To my amusement no day passed where she didn’t complain about her dark skin (he he!). Now you may wonder what did little Nathan do the entire time. He sometimes enjoyed the pool in his full body suit and extra thick layer of sun screen and of course mostly only in shadowed areas or slept in his stroller always nearby us. As he can not speak for himself yet I must say that he looked pretty damn happy when going for a little swim with me. At least the different crazy sounds he can do were all of the happy kind, not the upset heartbreaking kind.

 

During our time spent at the beach we got to know another Chinese guy who is going from beach to beach and offering massage for the tourists. At first we thought he might be employed by the hotel but later on he told us his not so happy tale. As many other Chinese in Greece he came illegally to the country to find work. Before the economic crises it was actually pretty okay till he lost his job and ended up doing the massage at the beach during summer times. This apparently happened to many other Chinese and there are whole crews going around, waving their little pamphlet with the prices of the different massages. He said also that the bigger beaches are mostly controlled by Chinese black society (when it comes to services Chinese can offer there) which leaves people like him only some smaller beaches with less business possibilities. He also wants to go back to China but he first wants to make a little profit before going back as the illegal way of getting out of China is very expensive. I just hope for him, the other Chinese and any other people who suffered due to the economic crises there that their situation will improve again over time.

rhodos2
Hotel area by night

 

What else to say about this trip other than it was pretty much perfect for us? The food was great, the area was wonderful and everything was working out well. Everything? Okay, there was this issue with the terrible internet connection which was driving me insane sometimes but then again it was a holiday, so why did I care so much about having a good internet connection and getting annoyed by not being upload stupid pictures to twitter…who knows…

 

Anyways, I am very glad we took this trip and I am also surprised that everything went to easy with Nathan as you usually hear that it can get pretty rough to travel with a baby.