Family Magazine


By Sherwoods
When Kathleen reached sixth grade, I added exercising to her daily routine.  Exercising is a life skill that everyone can benefit from, so I used my dictatorial powers for good to help Kathleen establish this habit.  We have a treadmill, so she ran for twenty minutes every morning.  After some initial grumbling, she did admit that it made her legs stronger for horseback riding so I figured that my point had been made.  
This year Sophia started sixth grade and daily exercising.  Not having enough treadmill time for both to run in the morning, I switched their exercise time to the afternoon.  The children have required daily outside play time (this is for my sanity just as much as for their physical health), so it was easy to mandate that the girls spend half an hour of it exercising for half an hour.
Being a kind mom, I only made them run twice a week (I run myself and I hate running, so I have sympathy).  The other days they could do a physical activity of their choice, which ended up being bike riding. We do have a soccer ball, but that didn't seem to be very popular.  On a whim, I ordered a badminton set so they could have one more option.  Plus, it would be an easy way to work on ball sports hand-eye coordination.  I have terrible hand-eye coordination and I'd like to give my children the chance to overcome their genetic deficiencies.  
Two weeks ago the net and racquets showed up.  The next morning, Joseph rushed through his school work, gobbled his lunch, and ran outside to set up the net.  Eleanor quickly joined him, and the other children followed as soon as they were able.  Everyone played until they were called in for the evening.
The next day the next came out again.  And again the day after that.  When the piano teacher came with her two kids, badminton was the game of choice and even the driver joined the fun.  
Yesterday was a Stay at Home Saturday, and when I asked Brandon what he wanted to do, he replied, "Badminton!" Winter had decided to take a short break, so the day was breezy, sunny and sixty-five degrees - a perfect day for badminton.  Kathleen, Sophia, Brandon and I matched up for two sets followed by practice sessions.  I felt like I was in some ad for 'family time,' with two happy parents cheerfully playing with their smiling adolescent daughters.  Nobody threw racquets, nobody stomped off in anger, and there wasn't even any name calling.  We were all (except Brandon) equally terrible so it was pretty even competition.  Everyone would have stayed out even longer than the two hours we spent together, but we ran out of time.  
I can't say that I would have ever predicted that badminton would have become such a smash hit.  It kind of seems like something that belongs back in sixties along with beehive hairdos and mixed drinks in the afternoon.  It is an Olympic sport, but the way that curling is also an Olympic sport - not something that children dream of achieving greatness in.  But, it does fit some key requirements: 1. It can be played in our yard, 2. It could be shipped through the pouch, 3. It doesn't require a high degree of skill to enjoy, and 4. There are no coaches, teams, or practices required.  
So hooray for badminton.  If it gets the children outside and playing happily together, I'll take it!

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