Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yoyos and a Case of the Nerves

Aye, such a weekend! I'm writing this right now from the Z Games Yo-Yo competition in Northampton, Massachusetts, where my two oldest boys are competing against some the best in the southern New England area. They've both attended similar competitions two times before, and I'd have to say they're fairly well seasoned at this by now.

At this point in the proceedings, the younger of my two boys has already competed at the junior level and scored a 46 out of 50 points - his best effort yet in this event. I think he'll be encouraged to attempt something a little more challenging at the next one. I hope so! He's nearly ready!

My older son had some trouble being convinced to compete at all, and I'm sad to report that I had to pull rank on him to get him to agree to it today. Not that he wasn't interested in being here - on the contrary, his intent was to be here, but simply as an observer. I had to pull him aside the other day and explain why it wasn't fair to expect that I'd take 3-1/2 hours of drive time plus how ever many hours it was going to be at the event out of my weekend for him to socialize with all the yoyoing folks he communicates with on the regular basis through Facebook and his yoyo forums.

I think he remained somewhat unconvinced about working through his nerves, though, until I pointed out to him that I had a perfectly valid frame of reference from my youth, in that I used to be stricken with a paralyzing fear prior to performances of any sort, and at far worse levels than anything I'd ever seen him go through. To be fair, the performances that used to bother my nerves were as a member of the school band getting up in front of moms and dads who were forced to sit in the hot and stuffy gymnatorium listening to us tune up for an hour and a half, whereas he was anticipating having to get up in front of a gathering of his peers to compete at a level that he himself may not feel completely and adequately prepared for - especially when one counts among his competitors several regional champions,a national champion, and a couple of his yoyoing idols. Yikes! While his method for dealing with the stress has been to attempt competing at a lower level than his ability (or as in this weekend's case, to attempt not competing at all), my method was barfing all over the place a couple times before showtime.

Hmm, perhaps I reacted a bit too strongly to a lesser threat than he does. Should I maybe consider giving him a break? Nah... If I had, we wouldn't be here today.

Update: It turns out my oldest boy had a decent run of it today. Not a championship performance, but a good time. In the end, he told me he felt a lot less nervous about being up there on stage performing and being judged. That's only going to help him...

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