Andrew Pollack's Blog

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So many ideas, so little time, and the radical personality shifts of 12 year olds.

By Andrew Pollack on 09/19/2005 at 08:01 AM EDT

Do you have periods in your work life or home life were you have so many ideas you'd like to take forward and no time at all to finish them? My list right now is longer than its ever been, and it shows no sign of getting shorter. I think I've got at least three distinct new products in mind that could all be winners -- at least in the limited success sphere that I have in mind and that is required to support me. At the same time, the number of projects around the house I'd like to get done is getting longer and longer this fall because with all the kids' sports I have no time at all on weekends or evenings.

I need three of me -- except that I'd find that intolerable and I'm sure I'd be both a terrible boss and horrendous employee. More likely I'd just spend more time wasting my time trying to deal with myself.

If it seems like some of the things I'm doing are falling behind, have patience. I'm working on it. This very site, for example, is hopelessly out of date. Argh.

In the mean time, Ari has suddenly gone from a typical 11 year old with a decided leaning toward doing as little as possible to some kind of super-athlete for reasons I can only guess have something to do with increased care in picking out clothes and other such things one associates with middle school and junior high. She'll be 12 in early November but to see her you'd guess fourteen. This fall instead of having to be pushed into some limited amount of biweekly exercise she's decided to step up to not just the one soccer team with AYSO like she's always done, but has added a second team -- our town's travel team on a decidedly more competitive league. The result is four practices per week plus two or three games each weekend up to an hour away. This travel team plays a decidedly more serious game, too. Body checking is allowed and expected, penalty shots on goal are common for violations which a year ago were not even tracked, and game play is 2 twenty five minute periods played on a full sized high school field. Let me stress again that this is a U-12 league -- sixth grade girls. Ari comes into all this with a background in AYSO (a sort of relaxed, everyone plays, carefully balanced teams, don't win by too much kind of league -- I really like that for kids) and has found the adjustment a bit of a challenge. She's gaining ground though. Ari has an advantage in this arena which is probably a disadvantage in most other things. She's built like her father. No little girl wants to hear this, mind you. Its not considered a good thing. In sports, however, she's finding it useful. For every bit of extra running, jumping, lifting, or stretching she does, she seems to get stronger at a rate about twice the other girls. She is at this point far and above the most solid of the players and is quickly catching up in speed. Conditioning has taken a little more time, but she's getting there as well. These have helped compensate for having no clue initially about how to play a physical game where elbows thrown and hip checks are used to full advantage. In fact, for the first game or two she only noticed that people kept bumping into her and falling down. She's learning that bit to, though. I've told her that she's big enough to not have to play that game directly. She can just run to the ball and do with it what she would if nobody else was there. Simply ignore the other girls entirely and run through. That's perfectly within the rules and won't cause you penalties. If others happen to be in the way, they'll learn to either move or fall down. It worked for her on Sunday, and I think being able to run down another player starting from behind and stop an advance went a long way toward her confidence on the team. I have to ask myself, however......what have I created?


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