My son has gone through numerous organized "activities" in his short existence. In Leo's six years he has had options I wouldn't have dreamed about as a kid. Times were different back then, though, and kids were left to their own devices for better or for worse (most the time with me it was for worse). We tried soccer with Leo back when he was three. He lasted a half of a game and decided to retire after taking a brutal hit from a well equipped young lady. I am sure to embarrass him in about 20 years by telling his future wife that story. Who knows maybe she will be that young lady? Then again I'm pretty sure that little girl is playing over in Europe by now, she was that good!
This summer we did art camp in August at the amazing Lillstreet Art Center, swimming twice a week at the friendly Lakeview YMCA, and Leo's personal favorite - Gymnastic Camp at the Chicago Park District's Broadway Armory Gymnastics Center. I have to admit, it was a tough pill for me to swallow the first day I dropped him off to gymnastics. I was raised on baseball, basketball, and football; sports that I deemed to be "manly men" activities. When I dropped Leo off he was one of two boys in a class of around 30. It seems I was not the only one unfairly categorizing gymnastics. The stigma lives. Leo was hooked right away. You see, gymnastics isn't that far off from being a "ninja." They run, flip, balance and hang just like most gymnasts. It didn't bother him in the least that he was one of the only boys in the class. It turns out women are caretakers even at a young age and for an only child with a hands on mother this class became heaven for him. He was catered to emotionally while building strength, endurance, coordination, and stamina. The crown jewel of his summer was earning a second place medal during their "2011 Beach Meet." Take that future wife!
Interested in gymnastics for you little one? Check out the Broadway Armory Gymnastics Center at 5917 N Broadway, Chicago, Il. 60660. Phone: 312-742-7502. Also you can visit the Chicago Park Districts website for activities near you.
Ryan lives in Uptown with his wife, Pascale, and 5-year-old son, Leo, and works in Chicago as an actor and on-air host.
See more of Ryan's stories here.