In the game of Dodgeball, the “doctor” player’s role is to “revive” other players who have been hit with a ball thrown by the opposing team. Players who have been hit may not continue to play until their team “doctor” has given them the High Five of Revival. The team “doctor” has to do this without getting hit by a ball themselves, since the “doctor” is the only one who can revive other players, and cannot do so for themselves. Obviously, the game is as good as over when your team “doctor” is hit. Naturally, the team “doctor” has to a) revive team mates as fast as he/she can, and b) avoid getting hit.
The other players on the team have a different role. They are to take out the other team’s players and “doctor”…. while protecting their own team “doctor”. Obviously, a team “doctor” who raises his risk of being taken out by the other team by running around crazily in the open attacking the other team isn’t a very “good” player. On the other hand, non-doctor members of the team should make the connection that they should take a hit for the team “doctor”. To instead selfishly play “for themselves,” not deflecting balls from their team “doctor” and allowing their doctor instead to be hit would mean the whole team loses. Such a good example for the kids, of the different roles and responsibilities on a team, of allowing a few losses. No child, however competitive or not, needs to be told that winning is important. But very few have a chance to be taught how to lose. Or why it’s not always a bad idea to lose. Pick Your Battles comes to mind.
On an aside, my last experience with a ball game was learning how to play netball for the now-merged OUB Bank/UOB Bank in the Singapore Corporate Games. There was this super high-achieving colleague who had served NS (National Service) as an Officer-ranked Commando. Extremely fit, he charged and flew across the court, deflecting, defending, attacking… until no amount of fitness or skill could make up for the fact he couldn’t be in two positions at once, and in the split second he took to barrel back to his own position, the other team scored via his unguarded position. (Obviously he never strayed that far after that.)
What do kids do at Multi Sports? Have Fun. That’s where the best learning happens isn’t it, and when they’re motivated is when it sticks. Both kids already insisted on coming back for more camps next chance they get. They improve their coordination and balance, stepping in and over rope, bench and hurdle courses to which they then also do a few rounds balancing bean bags on their heads, arms or tennis rackets, balls on cones.
Oh yeah – they also need to listen to instructions (in English of course) – because what they need to do on the obstacle course changes frequently.
Besides the attention to safety (hence always good for them to follow instructions) the kids are periodically also given directions like “stay behind the white lines,” or “don’t cross the red lines into the bench area” (when playing what looks like touch rugby)… (I do think it’s good practice especially for the safety element – when a basketball/ football/ netball/ etc etc game is going on little kids should really be more aware of the lines marking the court and not toddle or wander into a game and get tripped over)
This one’s Quiet Mouse Sneaking Past Sleeping Cat <blissful silence until the Mouse screams their lungs out fleeing from the newly-awakened Cat>
The youngest participant has his mum valiantly following him through hoops and over benches (below 6, an adult attends camp with the child) – she tells me at break that he’s just turned 2; the oldest few (not pictured) look easily to be tweens, executing cartwheels and backward bends amongst themselves at Break. Most of them are attending with younger siblings of various ages.
Teens with younger sibs at a wider age gap are like a third parent. I believe the value of this to the older sibling is underrated – by reinforcing good values to their younger brothers and sisters, it’s a powerful reminder to themselves as well. Our pastor once described how he felt when his daughter caught him in a(n albeit harmless) white lie. Obviously he was raising her to value truthfulness, so that hurt. Our kids are probably our biggest immediate conscience. Y’know, because Life Sucks <shrugs> – like it wasn’t bad enough these selfish little monsters stomp on our hearts with their big squeaky Crocs, now we have to watch our hypocrisy levels as well, because apparently as they get older our biggest chance of not losing credibility with them is if we practice what we preach.
On a smaller level, I have mum friends who don’t eat candy in front of their kids.
Yes I’m aware some of Rockstar’s friends now read this blog because you guys told him at school – buzz off, it’s not any of your mums. And none of us are stealing from your candy stash either, so there. (The Mum Doth Protest Too Much? ;D)
Occasionally a younger child cries from tiredness, or well, just because. I mention because both my kids have/had (past tense, in Rockstar’s case) “those” moments. I would not be surrounding my kids with a team full of highly disciplined child gymnasts from Romania.
I shall be surrounding myself with fellow mums who say the most comforting thing in your time of need, over your kid rolling about doing a nutty on the floor: “No Judgement.” ;D
There are activities where the kids are grouped according to their ages, and activities where all the ages are mixed together, every day. They constantly reshuffle the teams so everyone gets both a taste of winning and losing, and well, while they don’t have the whole sugar-coated “Everyone’s a winner!” (the jury’s still out, even in My Loser Kid Should Get A Trophy) nonetheless they are casual about both winning and losing even as they (equally casually) reshuffle teams that are too strong or too weak. I overheard Rockstar commenting to Queen E that no one loses repeatedly, what with all the team changes. She really needs that, since she can very quickly and unexpectedly become super intense about winning and losing. Because of how it was done at camp, and so very quickly, she took everything in her stride and must’ve then gone Hey. Lost A Few. Won A Few. when the dust settled.
There is a lot of attention to how individuals are doing, as well as the combinations in the small teams – no one is told they didn’t lose, while winners are celebrated….right before they are casually reshuffled next round so other kids get a chance. (In fact they reshuffle so much that watching, I cannot make out any overall winners or losers – everyone has had rounds where they win and lose – which I’m guessing is deliberate :P)
I think it’s a delicate balance, and there is no substitute for the human element, a good coach, to make a judgement call in a split second. In that instance when your kid is wide open looking for guidance (or just needs to be casually distracted away from Armageddon meltdown without realising it – that’s for you Queen E), you want the best qualified person on the court with your child. No excellent… system, or infrastructure, can replace what a human being actually does with it.
I seem to not have taken a picture of What’s The Time Mr Wolf, but rest assured both young and older kids enjoyed it and played it together. The camp coaches were really, really good at keeping any potential naughtiness at bay, the kids constantly moving and distracted with game after constantly refreshed game.
(I’m not under the illusion we were with a bunch of perfectly behaving angels because the moment we stepped outside to try and catch a cab, two of ’em ganged up and pushed Queen E off their joint exploration of the fire hydrant by the roadside. Queen E bawled, I cuddled, she calmed down and tried again and they did the same – whereupon the helpers took out a bag of candy and
bribed lured the kids away – but not before they turned to Queen E and said “I’ve got candy!” and proceeded to scarf the lot from a safe distance away, in front of her, telling her how yummy it was. NOT….. a complaint at all – unlike Rockstar at that age, Queen E is a lot tougher – gang up to push her off and she bawls but bounces right back… and remembers to throw more balls at you, next Dodgeball round haha the only reason I mention this incident is so you know some of the kids really are naughty off the courts… and on the court this is completely not evident because of how the coaches handle it. And btw, not all kids who attend ESF Camps are kids attending ESF schools, camp is open to all)
Epilogue: Can’t tell who won what but the kids did get a pack of trading cards each (not candy, yay!) –
Also can’t believe Rockstar went through 2 years of ESF Kindy and reached Y5 before we made it to one of the ESF Sports Camps that go on all over Hong Kong… But well he started off in primary school with his hands full as one of the younger ones because of his birth month, was quite shy, and…
I can only imagine, that the only reasons people don’t pack these classes are because 1) they limit the class sizes, 2) not as many people as you would think actually know just how good these camps really are (the write-ups and advertisements really don’t do it justice, and 3) if you’re not native to Hong Kong and they change up locations and times and activities, it can be a bit daunting to keep track of.. but totally worth it!