Start Now! Organize a Weekly “Fun Sports” Day

Readers — Sometimes I can’t believe how hard it is for kids to find anyone to play with outside.  Some days my sports-loving son, now 15, still comes straight home, only because all the other kids were doing that, too.

So — here’s an alternative you might want to try: Rather than relying on parents to spontaneously let their kids go out and play (which I hope will happen again some day), a Florida parent has started organizing “Good Time Sports” every other Sunday at a local park. Kids come and play casually organized games.  Parents pay $10, which goes for food and expenses.

Now I know — $10 isn’t peanuts, and why do kids need anything other than a ball and each other? But it still seems like a great alternative to a super-organized sports program, or sitting at home on a beautiful day.

WHERE YOU COME IN

If this sounds fun to you, why not share your location and an email address in the comments section, below? Tell folks what day and time you’d like to organize a Free-Range Sports Day! If and when you get something going — I sure hope you do — send pictures! – L

Someday kids will play beyond clip art!!

Someday kids will play beyond clip art!!

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82 Responses to Start Now! Organize a Weekly “Fun Sports” Day

  1. CrazyCatLady February 21, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Ahead of you on this one. I organized a weekly baseball game at our charter type school. The kids do come from all over two counties, so is not a neighborhood thing, but it is kids of multiple ages playing together.

    There are a couple of boys in the 6-8th grade range who have played on teams and have a great idea of how to play. They are taking over for me with instructing the little kids, ages 5 and up, on how to play. The kids are having a great time, my son who wanted to play on a league (but has never played before) is learning how to play (and it may not be something he wants to devote many hours a week to.)

    So far, all the boys and girls are having a great time, encouraging each other, and ensuring that even those who are less able have some success.

  2. Emily February 21, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Why do kids need food at every sports game and practice? Why do adults have to be involved in kids’ “free” play? Also, some kids don’t like sports, and would rather just play freely. I remember one time, when I was a kid, it was March Break, and I was at my babysitter’s house, and she said, “Husband is willing to take a group of you over to the park later to play football. Anyone interested?” I got hung up on the words “to play football,” and didn’t go. If she’d just said he was taking people to the park, I would have probably said yes, because I kind of wanted to go to the park to swing on the swings, but I knew I couldn’t have done that if I’d gone with the football group. So instead, I stayed at the house and played a computer game–Heretic, if memory serves. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I like the idea of “I Won’t Supervise Your Kids” much better than this “organized but free-range” sports program.

  3. Nikki February 21, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    We do this with the 6th grade alumnis from elementary school, meet up at the park one sunday a month, but no food or $$ and they play what they want. Yes, it’s mostly boys and they often play football, but also bring scooters and play wallball, etc. Funny probably half the parents think someone should be there supervising and they other half doesn’t, so depending on which boys show up there might or might not be an adult, but even if there is we don’t do anything but sit and chat.

  4. SOA February 21, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    I would not participate in it just because my kids are not into sports that much. My autistic son can’t handle structured games. He likes to just run around and free play. My other son sometimes like sports but not seriously.

    I just bring our own stuff to the playground like balls and bubbles and snacks and we just play with whomever is there.

  5. ifsogirl February 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    I would love to organise something like this in my community. There is a small park two short blocks from where I live and I never see kids playing there. I’ve taken my kids and dropped them off, but they are usually back way earlier than I expect because there are no other kids and they are bored playing with each other all the time.

    I think another part of the problem in my area at least are housing costs. Most of the larger homes seem to be owned by older couples who are now grandparent age, or childless couples who chose a different path in life. Most younger families can’t afford houses so they live in apartment buildings and such.

    In my townhouse complex there are only ten kids out of 48 units. Out of those ten there are only two I want my kids to play with. The others are either too young or not the kind of kids I want around my house. Thankfully the parents of the kids I like are somewhat free range, better than not at all.

  6. Papilio February 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    So, even in this digital era with smartphones and internet on which you could set up a neighborhood website for kids to meet up and organize *themselves* in the park on Saturday afternoon at x o’clock, it still takes adults to get a group of kids in the park at the same time?

  7. lollipoplover February 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    @Papillio- older kids around here use instagram for organizing get togethers. With this winter we’ve been having (snow and more snow), most fridays they all meet at the skate rink. When the weather is nice, pickup games of basketball, football, and soccer happen but I’m usually just getting the where and when from my son, he’s the one who does the organizing.

    I like the idea of this, without food, and more kid-run games. The kids in our neighborhood are happy building snowforts or playing tag, manhunt, or made-up games without parents telling them rules and asking them if they are hungry or thirsty.

  8. Stephanie February 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I tried to get the parents in my daughter’s kindergarten class to get together at the park one day a week for a while. Sadly, it didn’t work. Everyone loved the idea, but people rarely showed up. It was very much a “come if you can, and pleasepleaseplease invite more kids to the fun” kind of thing. Given how many people like scheduling their kids, maybe being more formal about it would have worked better.

  9. Marilynn February 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    To many things wrong in that article. So if he didn’t schedule this they would be online or playing video games all day? Umm, there is such a thing as saying “turn it off, go play” and enforcing it. That’s what we do in our house. From 9 am – 3 pm no electronics. Go outside, play in your room whatever, but there is no TV etc..and I’m not entertaining you. I get what he’s getting at, but still, if all parents put limits on that stuff, maybe more kids would go outside…or do they only do that stuff because the parents don’t let them outside. Vicious cycle.

  10. Andy February 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    How is that different from any other organized non-competitive activity or club?

    I do not understand why does it have to start with lunch, parents have to get some lunch for themselves anyway, so I doubt it saves them any work. Unless the kid can go there alone, start at eleven sounds little unpractical.

  11. Warren February 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Awesome idea. Word of advice is to becareful what you name it, and what the money is for. Remember we have had groups in the past in trouble over insurance and liability. It is a shame we have to think this way, and here in Ontario it isn`t a problem, but look into it locally.

    We don`t have anything organized like this, and our rural location limits the number of kids around. What we do have is about 6 kids on our road that routinely come to the house to take our dogs for walks or to their place to play. Great for the kids, and all three dogs love it.

  12. Cassie February 21, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Bahaha. These comments are already full of bitching and moaning and reasons why it would not work for their kids. We are a troubling society.

    This idea lost me at the prizes… need those prizes to motivate those kids. Seriously, isn’t this just another type of helicopter parenting.

    I would like to be part of something like this, though preferably a lot more laid back, though I still live in a place where the kids are all outside, at each others houses and riding their bikes together until parents yell down the street that it is time to come inside.

    If I didn’t, I think my solution would be a potluck BBQ at the local park (I am sure we could rustle up a few portable BBQs on a ute). Let the kids get to know each other and play. Give them a little push so that they can learn how to make their own games, and then step back.

    I think Lenore idea of just having parents sit in the park and read a book watching their toddlers/pre-schoolers while the older kids come alone knowing that adults are around – well it is a much better idea then paying $10 so you can get prizes for playing with friends…. Sorry to add to the bitching and moaning.

  13. Lara Pienaar February 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    I live in Winchester, MA and would be happy to connect with other free range parents in the area. Shoot me an email at lara.pienaar@gmail.com

    I’m not organizing anything to do with food or money though.

  14. SOA February 21, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    I hate how every event has to involve food. It turns off parents of food allergic kids because it becomes a huge hassle. How about everyone just feed their own kids and themselves? Is that so hard?

    If it involves food or potluck it means I have to get in touch with the coordinator and ask what is being served and explain the food allergies. Then I still have to pay when my son won’t even eat most of the food. I still have to contribute a potluck dish to share but still bring an entire meal for my son since he can’t eat what other people bring.

    It is a pain in the ass. I say just meet after lunch and everyone play. When I schedule playdates it is always not around meal times. From 10 to 12 or from 2 to 4 or 3 to 5. That way I can just set out some treats like cupcakes or cookies and some goldfish in case anyone gets peckish and be done with it. So much easier than trying to provide a meal every kid can and will eat during a mealtime.

  15. Emily February 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    @Dolly–Can’t you just tell the person organizing the event, what you’ve just told us, and say that you want to participate in the activity, but not the food?

  16. Warren February 21, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Dolly,
    Would you please knock it off. The world does not need to revolve around you and your kid. If it is that much a hassle for you, don’t go. That simple, but stop whining and asking that others not do things to make your sorry little life easier.

  17. SOA February 21, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    Warren: You are the one that looks like you think the world revolves around you. The post specifically was asking if you would want to participate or organize something like that and so I answered and explained why. I was by far not the only person that said they are not keen on the event or the whole food needing to be involved.

    I wouldn’t go which is exactly what I stated. So your whole “If you don’t like it, don’t go” comment is totally redundant.

  18. SOA February 21, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    Warren:Also use your keen intellect your brag about to point out where I said I would ask them to do anything or change anything for me? I didn’t. I just said “I would not go and here is why….”

    If I want to take my kids to play at the park or playground, we just pack up and go. I don’t need to get other kids to go at the same time.

  19. Warren February 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Dummy oops Dolly,
    Where exactly do you say you just wouldn’t go? All you did was whine, and it is getting tiresome.

  20. Emily February 22, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    @Warren–I think Dolly could still bring her sons to participate in the “play” aspect of one of these events, even if they couldn’t partake in the food. In any case, I’m not sure that “picnic, followed by sports” is the best format–engaging in physical activity right after eating can make a lot of people sick to their stomachs. Also, this is a discussion forum–just saying “I wouldn’t go to that” is a little abrupt, especially since the idea is a good one in itself. It’s not a panacea for the problem of over-screened, over-sheltered, under-active kids, but it’s a good solution for those who want to play sports without all the competition and pressure of Little League and whatnot. Dolly isn’t the only one who gave her opinion–a lot of other people did too, both for and against. So, if Dolly is a “dummy” and “whining” for doing the same thing, then I guess I am too, for saying that I was the kind of kid who would have rather gone to the park to swing on the swings than play sports. Actually, I’m still like that.

  21. Warren February 22, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    Emily,
    Please, be real. This woman jumped on and whined about food being involved, because it is such hassle for her. This is all she does is whine and complain.

    I have had people like this involved in organizations and such, and they get told to shut the f… up. They live to complain. And only worry about their own little pathetic world, with no regard for anyone else.

  22. Andy February 22, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    @Warren Yes, organized lunch is hustle for her, so she would not participate. That is what most normal non obsessive parents do – evaluate how much hustle joining an activity is compared to gain and then decide whether to go.

    She did not wrote that other people should not participate, all she wrote is that she would not and explained why. That is hardly an offense on public forum.

  23. SOA February 22, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Warren I don’t think you are getting the support you expected in your tirades against me. Sucks to be you.

  24. lollipoplover February 22, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    I just read the article and what jumped out at me were the parents comments.
    “Leung also remembers when kids could play outside all day and how that has changed. It’s the environment we live in,” said Leung, 51, of Oviedo. “You never know who is driving by. Kids get kidnapped. Parents are more protective these days.”
    And another parent said the thing her kid liked best about coming to this was the cookie.

    I like the idea of gatherings (informal) where kids can play games outdoors. I remember loving kickball and playing it constantly in the streets until it got dark. I just wish they didn’t have to use the dangling cookie to get these kids away from their video games and into the parks. And that parents felt this type of adult-run organized play was the only outdoor alternative to *these times* we live in.

  25. Warren February 22, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    “I hate how every event has to involve food. It turns off parents of food allergic kids because it becomes a huge hassle. How about everyone just feed their own kids and themselves? Is that so hard?

    If it involves food or potluck it means I have to get in touch with the coordinator and ask what is being served and explain the food allergies. Then I still have to pay when my son won’t even eat most of the food. I still have to contribute a potluck dish to share but still bring an entire meal for my son since he can’t eat what other people bring.

    It is a pain in the ass. I say just meet after lunch and everyone play. When I schedule playdates it is always not around meal times. From 10 to 12 or from 2 to 4 or 3 to 5. That way I can just set out some treats like cupcakes or cookies and some goldfish in case anyone gets peckish and be done with it. So much easier than trying to provide a meal every kid can and will eat during a mealtime.”

    This is her exact post. Nowhere does it say she would not participate. All this post does is whine and complain and say what should be done, because it is such a hassle for her.

  26. Emily February 22, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    @Warren–I see a bit of frustration in Dolly’s post, but come on–she has one son with food allergies, and another son with autism, so even something as simple as a potluck picnic is a major hassle for her. Having kids with special needs means giving up a lot of simple things in life, unfortunately, and it’s probably hard to see everyone else talking about the things they get to do, that she can’t do with her kids.

    However, I didn’t see that post as idle whining–I saw Dolly explain the problem (she can’t participate in potluck or food-centred events with her kids, because one has autism, and the other has food allergies), and the solution (she doesn’t participate in those events, and when she’s the one organizing, she schedules the events at non-meal times). I offered a further solution of asking the co-ordinators of these events if she and her kids could participate in the activities, but not the food. Again, not whining–legitimate discussion.

  27. Warren February 22, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Emily,
    Again there are fundamental differences.
    She hates that food is involved. “Why can’t…” is a complaint/whine in any language.

    Our son is autistic, our good friends husband is allergic to seafood, her son peanut allergic. None of us complain, or try to tell others what to do. We take responsibility and deal with it within our control systems.

    We realize that food is traditional part of many occassions, be it just traditional or religious.
    You can defend her all you want, but you are not going to convince me that she is anything but a whiner.

  28. Donna February 22, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    Dolly’s very first words in her very first comment on this thread: “I would not participate in it…” She did later agree with others who commented negatively about food being a part of this, but was definitely not the one who first who brought it up or the only one to complain.

    I think that this sounds like a good idea for kids who want to play sports but don’t want to deal with the all the craziness and competitiveness that can often go along with it, especially at older ages. But I have to agree with those saying why start every week with an organized lunch — and charge people for the food? A family picnic to get the ball rolling and everyone to get to know each other sounds like fun, but providing weekly lunches and snacks for all the kids seems like overkill. And no prizes!!!

  29. SOA February 22, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I agree Donna the prizes and the organized food all seems like over kill to me. How about just “Hey if you wanna meet at the playground at 3 on Saturday come on down and bring balls/jump ropes/etc and we can maybe get some games going on.” I would totally do that because it is not so structured. The kids might strike up a game, they might not. No big deal.

    I am a fan of just personally letting the kids go and they can do whatever they want whether that be start a basketball game or just roll around in the grass.

  30. hineata February 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Personally I wouldn’t go either, because I don’t have the ten dollars per child free weekly to do so. Or, rather, I have other priorities for said money :-) .Sans that and the prizes, sounds like not a bad idea at all, and kudos to the person who loosely organises it.

  31. Lola February 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Sadly, the thing about the 10$ is that it makes it work. Stephanie said earlier that when you just suggest getting together, people tend to forget, or let other things get in the way.
    But if you have to pay to get in, it just seems worth it. And you force yourself to get there on time, to get your money’s worth.
    Maybe you can write up some disclaimers for people to sign, instead of coughing up? ;-)

  32. Papilio February 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    “Maybe you can write up some disclaimers for people to sign, instead of coughing up? ;-)

    And/or something along the lines of those contracts they had people sign to promise they’d learn Esperanto if x other people promised the same?
    That was also about getting a group together to do something that individuals couldn’t do alone.

  33. LegalMist February 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Some good news on the free-range front:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/school-ditches-rules-and-loses-bullies-5807957

  34. CrazyCatLady February 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    For all of those worried about food…if you organize it, (as asked above) then you get to decide the rules. You don’t want food, don’t do food. You don’t want organized games? Make it a play date on the playground. Bring bubbles and sand toys if that is what is appropriate for your kids.

    Where I used to live, a bunch of us, homeschoolers, public schoolers, private schoolers all from the same community, would get together on Friday afternoons. We brought balls, bikes, scooters, sand toys, chalk and a snack that OUR kid could eat and share…IF we wanted to. Sometimes a parent would play baseball with interested kids. Sometimes we would play tennis (ball could bounce as many times as we wanted.) Kids who were not interested, didn’t have to play. One time we drew a very freehand map of North America (including Canada and Mexico as we had families from there.) But it was all very laid back, do what you want. We didn’t charge anything, and didn’t keep track of snacks as we wanted ALL families to come, including some that didn’t have money for snacks. Our group included a boy with autism, a family with Celiac, kids with above average IQ and sports abilities, and kids with learning differences and poor ability to do motor skill related things. Occasionally we had people who did not speak English. And that was fun too.

  35. Emily February 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    @Warren–I don’t think “why can’t” is necessarily complaining or whining. It really depends on tone, which isn’t always apparent in writing, but sometimes it can be a legitimate question/suggestion. Anyway, what I really don’t understand is, Dolly has an autistic son, and sometimes struggles with the issues that crop up in the course of raising him. You also have an autistic son, and seem to be doing fine. So, logically, you’d probably be the best person on this forum to help Dolly, but instead, you insult her and call her names. I’m not saying you have to help her if you don’t want to/don’t feel you’d be able to do so, but even saying nothing would be more helpful than kicking Dolly while she’s down.

  36. Robin from Israel February 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Please don’t feed the trolls people, they just drag all of us down.

  37. SOA February 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    CrazyCatLady: That sounds awesome.

    Actually that makes sense because a lot of people I know homeschool their kids with special needs or food allergies or other issues like language, etc. Because they don’t fit in as well in public school. I don’t, but I know some who do.

    So it makes perfect sense to make a homeschoolers gathering very all inclusive because you are probably going to get all types of people.

  38. SOA February 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Emily: Its okay. He is not bothering me. He is only making himself look like a crazy person. I appreciate the support though.

  39. Emily February 24, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    Fair enough, Dolly. I’m glad Warren’s comments don’t bother you. Anyway, I had another thought. Maybe these “organized but free-range, non-competitive sports afternoons” aren’t meant to last forever, but rather, function as a catalyst for kids to get outside and play, and for parents to let them. After so many Sundays, maybe “No, you can’t go to the park without an adult, it’s too dangerous” will become, “Sure, you can meet Sam and Sarah at the park; I really liked them and their mother when we spoke at T-Ball.” Then, just maybe, the kids will start making a habit of making their own plans, and making their own fun, and Good Time Sports will either become obsolete altogether, or it’ll continue to function, but with different kids, as the previous kids/families “graduate” or “age out” of the program, as they move from the “free range with training wheels” model that it provides, to completely free range play.

  40. Warren February 24, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    Emily,
    Being called crazy by someone like Dolly is a compliment.

    If you care to look back at her posts. I find the overall tone of them to be full of complaints and whines.

    Yes her son is autistic, yes mine is to. The fundamental defference is that she whines, complains and makes excuses because everything she sees is thru autistic eyes. She has to get past that. Our son has his special needs, and we never make that a focus or conditon of any event, celebration or anything. We work within his limits, and use every new situation as a learning opportunity for him. The world is not going to modify for him. Never will, and we do not want it to. We want him to be able to handle the world as best he can.

    Dolly on the other hand wants to have the world come to her. And that royally pisses me off. I do not feel sorry for her, because I don’t feel sorry for us. This is the hand we have been dealt, and we play that hand.

  41. SOA February 24, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Warren: Apparently I do the same thing as you. I work within my children’s limits. Meaning I don’t attend events where it is all about communal food all the time and I don’t attend events with a lot of organized activities. Because those don’t work for our family. This thread is about would you attend something like this and why or why not. So I answered and explained why. I don’t think that is whining but you feel the need to chase me to each thread and pick apart anything I say, so have at it. The rest of us find it kinda getting old.

    We don’t have to attend things we don’t want to. Sometimes we have to suck it up and deal and we do, but when it comes to optional things like this, we bow out if it does not work for us. That’s life. Like for birthday parties of our friends we want to attend, I am fine knowing my son probably can’t eat most of the stuff there and I bring him food. I know my son won’t want to play the organized games if they have them. That is fine too. We adjust and it works out fine.

    We do it because we want to go show support for our friends and hang out with them. But for just regular old any day get togethers, if it is going to be a lot of trouble for us, we just don’t go. I am willing like you to host people at our home most of the time because that way I know my kids are taken care of. We have food here for them and we have stuff for them to do. Its called adjusting. Which is apparently just what you do.

  42. Warren February 24, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Dolly,
    I like how you speak for everyone, that’s nice.
    You may have them snowed, but not me.
    You said you wouldn’t attend in a small post, then went on a rant about food being at everything and how much of a hassle it is for you, and complained about it.

    You make excuses, you justify, and you whine. I have run into parents like you, and have no problem standing up when they start their whines and demands. It is because of parents of special needs kids like you, that I act as the buffer in groups. I will stand up and tell them to their face that the group does not need to change, adjust or modify for their kid or mine. That is our job as the parent of a kid that is in the minority of the group.

    We do not avoid any happening because of his needs. We just do the work. We do not expect a pat on the back, we do not expect or want the group to adjust. We attend, we have fun and we leave. Our kid not theirs, so it is our job. It is really simple.

    So do not give me the you just do not attend, or will not attend, or avoid things, because they are just excuses. Yes it takes more work, but it is worth it in the end.

  43. Donna February 24, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Yes, Warren, you’re great and everyone else sucks. Can we move onto something else now?

  44. Emily February 24, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    @Warren–I never said you should feel sorry for Dolly; I said you’d be a good person to help her. There’s a difference between feeling sorry for someone, and helping them. Feeling sorry for them is passive–“Oh, your son is autistic; that must be so difficult for you.” Helping someone is active–asking the right questions, and listening to the answers, and working with the person to find solutions. For example, “Okay, so, your son doesn’t do well with organized activities with a lot of other kids. What if you started him by having, say, one friend over to shoot hoops, and then gradually work your way up to the friend’s house, then the park, and add another kid every few weeks? Would that work? Yes? No? Okay, what do you think would work?” Skype would also allow you to “meet” Dolly and her son, and for your kids to get to know each other too. I know that this sounds harder than feeling sorry for her, and it is, but it’s also much more productive than sympathy.

    Another way to look at it is to remove the emotion–so, suppose you were helping a friend move, or helping one of your kids with a badge for Scouts or Guides. That’s not feeling sorry for them; that’s helping them with a project, i.e., moving furniture and possessions from your friend’s old house to his or her new house, or helping a child build a wooden car for the Pinewood Derby in Cub Scouts. Now, these are both specific projects with a beginning and an end, but sometimes, bigger undertakings (like raising an autistic child) can be broken down into smaller and more specific projects as well, like, say, helping the child to be more willing to try new foods, or stay progressively longer at a high-sensory-input place like Wal-Mart (or a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese) without getting overwhelmed, or adapt to new situations, such as attending swimming lessons for the first time. Again, this wouldn’t come from a place of sympathy, but more like, “Okay, the goal is for Kiddo to stay in swimming class for the full half hour, and participate with the other kids. The obstacles are his aversion to crowds, loud noises, and getting water in his eyes. Let’s try enrolling him in a weekday class when the pool is less crowded, and buying him a pair of goggles. Maybe it’d be a good idea to accompany him to the first class, while he gets acclimated.” It’s sort of the same way you’d do the Pinewood car: “Okay, we have a block of wood, four wheels, some weights, carving tools, paints, and decals. The car can’t weigh more than X grams, and the goal is to get it to go as fast as possible down a slope of Y length and Z angle. Let’s do this together.”

    Also, I don’t know your family, so I don’t know what challenges you might still be working on with your autistic son, but suppose Dolly and her son had already worked through them–maybe she has something valuable that she could share with you too. That’s the other difference–sympathy sort of assumes that the sympathizer is somehow “better than” or elevated above the sympathizee, but helping can (and should) be reciprocal. That said, you still don’t have to help Dolly specifically; I just used her as an example. It could be any other person, or any other family, about any other challenge that you feel you could offer help or insight in.

  45. CrazyCatLady February 24, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    Warren, I expect that if your autistic child and Dolly’s autistic child were put side by side that you would find that they are two very different children. And because they are different and have different responses to the same stimuli, it means that you each, out of respect for others, have different levels of activities that you can attend without disrupting others.

    I suspect, that Warren, your child is probably fairly easy going and will follow your rules and such. I have known kids on the spectrum who will quietly sit and stim themselves. I have also known kids on the spectrum who will have a full blown meltdown (terrible twos style) when they have low blood sugar or fed food with lots of sugar. The kids I am thinking of DID not understand when he was hungry, and also did not understand why he couldn’t have the food, and DID NOT tolerate being talked down to the way that most adults tend to do when kids misbehave. Not pretty when the child is 9, tall for his age and not comprehending beyond what a years younger kid does. It makes get togethers…awkward, to say the least.

  46. Emily February 24, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Also, getting back on topic, who else here thinks that this “Goodtime Sports” endeavour might be intended as a way to get kids to play outside on their own, and for parents to become more comfortable with that?

  47. Donna February 24, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I don’t get the impression that the kids are playing alone. I don’t know what the creator of the sporting games intended, but based on this comment by one of the participant’s parents, it doesn’t appear that free ranging is on the agenda:

    “It’s the environment we live in,” said Leung, 51, of Oviedo. “You never know who is driving by. Kids get kidnapped. Parents are more protective these days.”

  48. Warren February 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Donna, whatever.
    Emily,
    Give it up. She does not want help. She is just happy to make excuses and play the sympathy card.
    Crazy,
    That’s fine, but the excuses and whining is not justified.

  49. Emily February 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    @Warren–How do you know what Dolly wants? Did you ask her? That’s really the only way to know for sure, but as a general rule, most people don’t want to be insulted or called names. Also, when I pointed out the difference between feeling sorry for someone, and helping them, that wasn’t necessarily Dolly-specific. I mean, you probably know other people with autistic children, right? Even if you don’t, you must surely know other people, with their own challenges in life, and you might even have a few things you’re working on yourself, that might be easier with another set of hands, whether those things are as simple as, say, picking up a kid from Scouts when your car breaks down, or more complicated, like figuring out what’s wrong with the car and how to fix it. We always say that part of the Free-Range movement is building community, right? Well, insulting people who struggle with something, or don’t do everything the way you do, doesn’t build community at all.

  50. Donna February 24, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Emily – You are very sweet, but it is time to realize that you would have an easier time having a meaningful conversation with a tree. Warren has no desire to have a civil discourse with anyone and that is never going to change.

  51. SOA February 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    I did not get it was exactly free range either since the parents are the ones setting it up and the ones bringing in the food and what nots. So not a kids on their own event but at least a kids outside socializing and exercising event. Which is good for sure. I got the sense the parents would be there too at least hanging out while the kids play. Which is fine too. It is a step toward letting them go all by themselves at least.

    I am laughing at Warren’s insistence that someone MUST attend every event they are invited to or they are somehow asking people to change how they do things or making excuses or asking for special treatment. Huh? Since when does anyone have to attend any event they are invited to?! I go to the ones I want to go to and do what everyone else is doing or do the best we can at said event. An event like this is something I would not really care to attend. I would rather just let my kids loose at the playground to free play.

    I mean if you compare just letting the kids loose to free play versus the whole setting it up to play this sport-mine comes across as more free range. Just saying. My kids don’t NEED organized sports to have fun. They can just go and play with other kids and make up their own games with complete stranger kids they just met. A big feat for a kid with autism too may I add. He does better with that, than trying to follow rules of a game. Just running around is better exercise than standing in an outfield anyway.

  52. SOA February 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    And why is organized sports or pot lucks so much more “WORTH IT” as you said, then say just going to the playground whenever we want and free playing? Are you one of those nuts like my neighbor that thinks sports are the only reason to live so a kid not playing sports must have no reason or worth for this planet?!

    Explain how this event is more “Worth it” than just eating lunch at home then heading out to the playground and letting the kids do whatever they want? Why is the potluck so much more “worth it”? Why are the organized sports so much more “Worth it”? Because I promise you I never enjoyed playing any sport ever a single day in my life. I had more fun playing pretend and running around in the woods.

  53. Emily February 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Another thing–saying why you can’t participate in a certain event, isn’t necessarily asking the person to change THAT event. Suppose Dolly made a new friend, who meant well, but didn’t really know her son’s limitations, and repeatedly invited her to potlucks, or neighbourhood street hockey games with her kids (street hockey is a thing here in Canada; not sure if it is in the States), or birthday parties at the local “all inclusive party package” venue, where the parties consist of organized activities, followed by food from the venue, that might be inedible to Dolly’s son. Now, suppose Dolly’s only “acceptable” options were to say yes, or no. In that case, she’d have to say no every time, and the friend would get the idea that she wasn’t interested in continuing a friendship between the two families, even if that wasn’t the case…..but if Dolly said yes, meltdowns would ensue. So, the logical solution is to say no, but give a counter-offer for a different event–for example, “We can’t go to your potluck because of the kids’ food issues, but how about meeting at the park with the kids next Saturday morning?”

    That’s not to say that the friend should cater everything around Dolly and her sons’ needs, but it’d at least provide some insight, so that the friend could start extending some invitations that Dolly and her family could accept, and stop inviting them to events that pose problems. I’ve had to do the same thing with my own friends–I’m deathly afraid of roller coasters, and I suffer from panic attacks that are often brought on by crowded, chaotic situations, loud noises, bright lights, and the sensation of being shaken around. So, I can’t go to nightclubs, and “party buses” are literally Hell on wheels for me. My friends know not to invite me out clubbing with them, but it took a few times of telling them, “I can’t go clubbing with you because I have panic attacks, but how about we catch a movie/art show/yoga class/go to the beach instead?” Some friends have dropped me over this, but others have accepted that going clubbing will make me ill, and are willing to accept a “substitute” activity that we both enjoy instead. I’d never tell anyone that they shouldn’t do certain things just because I can’t participate in them, but sometimes, it’s necessary to tell them that I can’t go with them. Again, I’ve lost some friends over this, but the people who matter to me have stuck around, and I don’t even think the people who dropped me over it were bad people–they just had a different agenda. They wanted to GO CLUBBING, possibly with me. I wanted to spend time with them, but not at the club. Since those agendas didn’t mesh, our friendships didn’t last.

    Anyway, to make it easier, let’s use a less loaded example. I’m not available on Sunday afternoons from 3:30-5:30, because that’s when my steel band rehearses. So, if someone repeatedly invited me to events in that time slot, and I had to keep saying no with no explanation (because, in Warren’s world, that’s “making excuses,” or “being weak-willed,” or “asking the world to change”), they’d think I was rejecting them. If I said, “Sunday afternoons don’t work because of steel band, but how’s your Saturday?” then the friend would know that I’m not rejecting them, I’m just being honest about a scheduling conflict. It also wouldn’t obligate the friend to say yes, because maybe he or she is busy on Saturdays. However, it does open up the lines of communication. That’s why human beings are given the power of spoken and written language, and listening, and empathy, rather than just treating every interaction like a binary choice of “yes” or “no.”

  54. Warren February 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Emily,
    I agree with Donna, you are sweet. Unfortunately to a fault.

    I really get a kick out of this site. Everyone will jump down the throats of people who are in the news for things, such as the lady with the kid in the airport, and Macy`s. But are too blind or stupid to see Dolly for who she is. That is fine.
    I do not give a rat`s ass what you or the rest think of me, I just thought you all were smarter than that. Apparently not.

    And Donna can continue with her kind worded insults, but it still makes her a self righteous bitch.

  55. Emily February 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    I wasn’t trying to be “sweet,” I was just trying to be logical. Remember the episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun where Dick (the patriarch of a family of aliens taking on human forms to visit Earth and study human behaviour), reads an overly simplistic self-help book, decides he wants to eliminate conflict, and rejects every person in his life who disagrees with him on anything at all? In the end, finds himself completely alone. Of course, since it’s 30-minute sitcom, Dick quickly realizes his mistake and makes amends, having learned that some conflict in life is okay, and necessary. However, there are people in real life who don’t get that. Those people are the people who go through their days thinking, “I always invite Dolly to bring her friends to the park for a potluck and organized sports, and she always says no. She must not like me. I’ll stop talking to her,” or “I like scary movies, and Fred doesn’t. I guess we can’t be friends,” or “I just met a woman who never wants to go clubbing or ride roller coasters. She must be a stick in the mud who’s making excuses.” That kind of thinking is very black-and-white, and doesn’t serve the goals of communicating or building mutually beneficial friendships or communities. Instead, being willing to talk through a conflict (whether it’s a simple matter of having a certain day and time booked every week, or a deeper issue, like Dolly’s sons’ food issues, or my panic attacks), is the first step towards a solution. If someone proves to be completely incompatible with you, and they don’t like/can’t do anything that you’re interested in, then sure, move on, but that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them. In most cases, it makes more sense to drop the expectations of participating [insert incompatible activity] together, than to drop the person.

  56. Donna February 24, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Emily – I meant you were sweet for continuing to try to have a reasonable conversation with Warren.

  57. Warren February 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    Emily,
    Please for the love of Pete stop.

    If you cannot understand that her rant about food was whining and complaining then you have not been exposed to people like Dolly. She is an “it is all about her” type. Seen them, dealt with them, and call them on it every time. And they don’t like it. Well just gives them something else to whine about.

  58. Donna February 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Dolly, I agree with you on the “worth it” thing. My mother is allergic to all mammal meat. Pot-lucks and cook-outs generally aren’t as much of a problem since she can bring something she can eat that will satisfy her, but she always has to ask what is being served for dinner parties since showing up starving for a steak dinner is not a fun night for her. Sometimes she chooses not to attend; sometimes she goes. It just depends on how important the event is to her. She does tell dinner party hosts that are serving mammal that she can’t eat it. Not to whine or request a change but so that they know in advance that she won’t be eating and they can plan accordingly (and because everyone feels awkward when she springs it on them when the food is on the table).

    I think people without major food allergies, or who don’t know someone close with major food allergies, don’t understand that it is not always fun for the allergic person to sit around watching other people eat foods that they can’t eat. That doesn’t mean that they want the food wiped off the planet, but they may choose to skip a food-based event rather than sit there all night watching people eat and drooling over things that they can’t have.

  59. SOA February 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    So now Warren has insulted every single person on this site. Way to win people to your cause.

    Donna: Exactly. I never ask people to change things but I will like ask what is being served so I can plan on bringing something or eating before we go. Or just meet them after the meal part is over for the play part. Or next time be the one to invite them so I can suggest something that works better. It seems obvious and that no one “Sane” would have a problem with that.

  60. SOA February 24, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    I love how Warren refuses to answer the questions asked of him…probably because he knows he has no answer that makes sense. So he just throws out insults.

  61. Warren February 24, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Why not answer, well fine. Because all of your questions were based on you transfering your disfunctional childhood onto your kids.

    You can word it anyway you want Dolly, but it is still just the excuses of a scared and fearful person.

  62. Emily February 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    >>That doesn’t mean that they want the food wiped off the planet, but they may choose to skip a food-based event rather than sit there all night watching people eat and drooling over things that they can’t have.<<

    @Donna–You hit the nail squarely on the head. I think the same applies for people with religious or moral/ethical restrictions against certain foods. For example, I'm vegan (so, I don't eat anything that comes from an animal), and I have several Muslim friends who I met through the International House community, who of course abstained from pork products. I remember very clearly going on a picnic with my housemates, where we ended up buying regular hot dogs for those who had no restrictions, chicken for the Muslim housemates who could eat meat, but not pork, and veggie hot dogs for myself and my friend Michael, since we're both vegan. We were at a national park with a communal barbecue that had two grilling surfaces, so we grilled the veggie dogs first, then did the regular hot dogs and the chicken on two separate grills–or maybe we did the regular hot dogs on one, and the chicken pieces and the veggie hot dogs on another grill, but spaced far enough apart so the juices wouldn't intermingle. Nobody was allergic to soy, but if they were, we would have found a way around it. Anyway, food issues aside, I remember that we had a really great time, nobody went hungry, and nobody was the slightest bit offended by the sight of food that went against their beliefs. If we were offended by others eating our "forbidden" foods, well, things in our house just wouldn't have worked–we couldn't go on picnics, or eat dinner together around the TV (which we did on a regular basis), and we couldn't even store our food together in a communal fridge, which we also did. We definitely didn't want any of these forbidden-to-us foods to be wiped off the planet, because something that was inedible to me (and meat really does become inedible to someone who hasn't had it for a while), could be a favourite food for my good friends, like my friend Rina, whose favourite non-chocolate food is chicken. So, you're absolutely right, Donna–a little "live and let live" certainly goes a long way. Dinner invitations are tricky, though–although, most people who know me well enough to invite me over for dinner, generally know that I'm vegan. If they don't, I offer to bring something, or simply decline (offering a different activity at a later date, if the host is someone I want to spend further time with). My point is, tolerance and compromise are good things, even if the solution looks a little strange to outsiders, like a barbecue for nine people with three different kinds of entrees.

  63. SOA February 25, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Dodged the questions again, eh? Answer the question “Why is it so much more worth it to have a potluck instead of just showing up after lunch?” Also answer the question “Why are organized sport games more worth it than just letting the kids go and do whatever they want be that an organized game or just running around like little wild monkeys?”

  64. Emily February 25, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    @Dolly–There’s nothing wrong with coming just for the activity, and not the food, as long as you make it clear to the host/organizer that that’s what you plan to do, and as long as he or she is okay with it. There’s also nothing wrong with sending your kids outside for free play (in the backyard, in the park, or even around the neighbourhood if you feel comfortable with that), rather than enrolling them in organized sports. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be an “either/or” thing. Growing up, my brother did a summer of soccer, then a few years of hockey, and I did a few years of figure skating, a few years of horseback riding, and then took swimming lessons for several years, but we still did our own thing outside of that.

  65. Warren February 25, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Okay Dolly I will keep this as simple as possible for you.

    Potlucks vs showing up after the food.

    Potluck.
    1. Bring something that suits your dietary needs and limits.
    2. Sense of community.
    3. A much better opportunity to socialize.
    Showing up after
    1. Avoiding instead of working with.
    2. Lost opportunities for socializing and learning.
    3. Teaching your kid that avoiding is the way to do things.
    4. Total lack of community. Show up for the play, but do not contribute or assist in the food.

    Organized vs non
    1. Niether is better, but each is as valuable as the other.
    2. Organized creates a sense of team, belonging.
    3. Organized creates expectations of what is to come, which for an autistic child is a benefit.
    4. Organized can without forcing, be far more all inclusive than freeplay.

  66. SOA February 25, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    So you can’t get a sense of community from free play? You can’t get a sense of community from hanging out with parents while the kids play? News to me.

    That is how we have always done it with my close friends and it works out excellently. My kids played out in the yard and had a water fight in February on a particularly warm day with the neighbors for over an hour while the Dad and I watched and laughed at them. But since it was not an organized sports game and there was not communal meal before I guess it meant nothing. I guess no community happened there. Yep, checks out…..(can you tell how hard I am rolling my eye

  67. SOA February 25, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    So you can’t get a sense of community from free play? You can’t get a sense of community from hanging out with parents while the kids play? News to me.

    That is how we have always done it with my close friends and it works out excellently. My kids played out in the yard and had a water fight in February on a particularly warm day with the neighbors for over an hour while the Dad and I watched and laughed at them. But since it was not an organized sports game and there was not communal meal before I guess it meant nothing. I guess no community happened there. Yep, checks out…..(can you tell how hard I am rolling my eye

  68. SOA February 25, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    I can assure you sports never did anything for me but made me feel like crap because I had no athletic ability. So it was certainly not inclusive to me. I just got yelled at by the other kids when I messed up.

    But we always had a great time running around making up pretend games or exploring in the woods or setting off fire works or playing hide and seek or having water gun fights. I prefer activities where every kid has an equal chance of having fun and being good at it. Sports only works for the kids with athletic abilities.

  69. Donna February 25, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I would argue with your points but doing so would be meaningless. I find it entertaining that your first comment to Dolly was “If it is that much a hassle for you, don’t go.” As soon as Dolly said that she sometimes doesn’t go because the hassle wasn’t worth it to her, she became wrong for not going. Just proves that you really just want to argue with Dolly and actually have no real valid point to make other than Dolly is wrong regardless of what she says.

  70. SOA February 25, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Donna nailed it. ;)

  71. Warren February 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Donna,
    Now you are the only one that is looking for to argue.
    Dolly asked for specific answers to specific questions, actually she challenged me to. So I complied. Was not arguing whether she should or should do anything.

    And in her response she proved my point. She has taken sore issues from her disfunctional life and transfered them onto her kids.

    Just because she didn’t enjoy sports she is anti sport. She cannot put aside her own insecurities and failings, in order to be open to things.

  72. Warren February 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Dolly,
    I do not know if you are just too self absorbed or you really are that stupid.

    My first point about Org vs non, read it again, count to twenty and hopefully something will sink in.

    I am going to assume you are just way too self absorbed, fearful and insecure.

  73. SOA February 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    My kids don’t like sports all on their own. I have one son who is a dancer and that is his chosen activity. Not sports.

    The other son does not like them either. They came about that quite naturally. If they asked me to play sports, we would look into it, but so far that question has never come.

    Kids will often pick up the interests of their parents just because that is what they are exposed to. We don’t watch sports in this house or talk about them so they really don’t know or care about them either. Just like my neighbor whose entire life revolves around football it makes sense his son can’t carry on a conversation without adding football into it every other sentence.

    Are you saying I should watch football even though I hate it just so my kids might decide to pick it up? Or I should put them in every activity and spend tons of time and money doing so so they can try every single activity out? Yeah not doing that. No parent would.

    I expose them to things I like and things they ask to be exposed to. So far sports has been neither of those things even though my son does enjoy playing catch or kicking a ball around just for fun. So I do that with him. But he has never asked for more than that.

    When you stick your son in a ballet class, then you can judge me for not sticking my son in a little league uniform.

  74. Emily February 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    1. You can achieve community through organized sports, if you include everyone and make it about having fun……or not, if you make it all about winning, and only give the most athletic kids a chance to play.

    2. You can also achieve community through free play, as long as it’s similarly inclusive and positive……or not, if it’s allowed to devolve into a Lord of the Flies situation.

    3. You can achieve community through a potluck, if everyone who comes with a hungry stomach, also comes with a food contribution (or volunteers to help set up and/or clean up)……or not, if the potluck organizers get bossy and tell people exactly what to bring, and critique people’s contributions for “quality control,” or if greedy people take more than their share and leave other people with nothing, or if someone knows that someone is allergic to, say, peanuts, and puts peanuts in everything, or sabotages all the food with bacon fat if there’s a vegan in attendance. There are a lot of ways to ruin a potluck, which would kind of kill the “community” vibe.

    4. You can also achieve community in a situation where there’s no food involved. I see it every day at the ice rink at the park near my house–people from the neighbourhood will show up with skates, and hockey sticks, and pucks, and play together even if they don’t know each other. During the after-school and weekend hours, the rink will be full of people playing hockey together, or just skating (there’s a separate hockey area and free skating area). There’s also flood lighting, because the hockey area is a tennis court during the non-winter moths, so people don’t have to leave when it gets dark. That’s community too, and I’ve never seen anyone bring food–everyone lives nearby, so they eat before or afterwards.

    Anyway, all I’m trying to say is, community comes in many shapes and sizes, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has to come to everything. I don’t participate in the skating and hockey, because my feet are too high-arched for skates, and they actually hurt me to wear. So, I don’t skate, but every summer, I volunteer to paint kids’ faces at the neighbourhood picnic. When community events, Fun Runs, etc., happen, I’m there, and I also volunteer at the YMCA, and teach a pay-what-you-can yoga class at the arts collective. In fact, I’m going to a community potluck event at that same arts collective tonight–the vegan brownies I baked for the potluck (that are popular with vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike) are cooling as I type this. So, it’s possible to abstain from a certain type of event, but still be an active member of a community. In fact, if the “community” tried to tell people that everyone had to participate in everything, that’d be almost like saying that everyone had to be the same, which doesn’t really promote diversity.

  75. Donna February 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    No, Warren, YOU insisted that Dolly should just not go to activities that were a hassle to her. Repeatedly. In fact, when some pointed out that Dolly did say that she wasn’t going to go, you quoted her entire post and asked where she said that. Only once I pointed out that she said it in a previous post did you stop that line of argument.

    You then immediately turned around and insisted that she is wrong for not going to events that she finds to be a hassle. In fact, you said “So do not give me the you just do not attend, or will not attend, or avoid things, because they are just excuses. Yes it takes more work, but it is worth it in the end.” Insisting that she now MUST attend or is wrong and that any hassle apparently should be worth it to her.

    The fact is that your sole point in this entire thread is to disagree with Dolly. Whatever she says. You should have gathered by now by the fact that we refer to SOA as Dolly that she has been around far longer than you under a different screen name. We know Dolly quite well and she can annoy the piss out of many of us at times with her opinions. However, you are just needlessly harassing her in this thread.

  76. Emily February 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    >>When you stick your son in a ballet class, then you can judge me for not sticking my son in a little league uniform.<<

    Good point, Dolly. Maybe Warren should take a ballet class too, so he could do ballet with his kids. After all, he wouldn't want to teach his kids to avoid things. Seriously, though, if your kids like to dance, they should dance, and if Warren's kids prefer traditional sports, they should do that. Trying new things is all well and good, but after you try, it's perfectly fine to reflect on the experience and decide if you liked it, didn't like it, or don't know enough to decide yet, but want to try again. Dolly, you've obviously tried team sports enough times to know you don't like them (so have I). You've also tried the "potluck with the kids" experience enough times to know that that doesn't work for your family either. Didn't Einstein say that the definition of insanity was to keep repeating the same action, and expecting a different result? I've disliked sports for my whole life, after a LOT of exposure in school and summer camp, and that's why I choose to run, swim, go to Zumba and Cardio Kickboxing classes, do yoga, or stay home and do exercise videos on YouTube instead. I'm as fit as anyone (maybe more so, since I'm a yoga teacher myself), and I learned about socialization and teamwork from band, student government, theatre, and volunteering in community events. All sports taught me was that I was uncoordinated.

  77. SOA February 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    Emily: True. Dance actually can teach teamwork too. The little girls at our dance studio on the competitive team are the most supportive team players I have ever seen. They are happy for their friend even if their solo beat theirs. People seem to think sports are the end all be all for the world, but they are not. You can learn teamwork through other avenues. Our studio stresses you clap and cheer for everyone even your competitors.

  78. Warren February 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    LMFAO.
    Ballet/dance? Really? You think you can challenge my male pride with that? Both my daughters and son have tried dance. My oldest competed with her schools, my youngest daughter tried but wasn’t really impressed by it. My son tried, and found he prefers to help with the stage and sound.

    Anymore suggestions from the moron gallery?

  79. Emily February 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    @Warren–You’ve done dance before? That’s awesome. I wasn’t trying to challenge your male pride; I just didn’t know you’d tried dance, or that the thought had even occurred to you. Just curious, how did you like it? I took a pre-ballet class when I was a kid, but didn’t enjoy it, but now I take Zumba, and I love it.

  80. Emily February 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    @Dolly–Of course dance can teach teamwork; how could I have missed that? Group dances are a team activity, and so are duets, especially when they involve things like lifts, or crazy Dance Moms kind of stunts, like one person cartwheeling over another person’s back. Those things require a really high level of trust, that can only be achieved by working together as a team.

  81. Warren February 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    Still do some ballroom with my bride, we took lessons yrs ago, and enjoy going during the winter to keep in practise. It is a fun way for us to exercise together. It also helps with keeping my muscles loose for other sports, as well as helping teach balance and co-ordination.

  82. Emily February 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    @Warren–My parents took ballroom dance classes off and on for several years too, and they enjoyed it, but they didn’t progress after a while–they finished Beginner, moved on to Intermediate, and just stayed there indefinitely before they got busy with other things, and had no time to dance anymore. Right now, they’re really into cross-country skiing (since it’s impossible to play golf in the winter), because dance class was at a specific time, that didn’t always work for them, but now they can ski on their own schedule.