As you may imagine I’m not particularly “pushy” with my kid. I tend to think that his life is already some hard stuff to go through in itself without needing my cooperation.
The other day we took the Almighty C. to his ski lesson, got into the bar that’s on the slopes and bumped into a dear old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen over the last few months. He said he was going back to Milan and he said he was actually looking forward to leaving. Apparently his holidays at the mountains are kind of tiring because the whole family has to wake up very early in the morning since their kids take ski classes at competitive level, which start at dawn, and one of them doesn’t even want to go so it is all a fuss to get ready.
Outside it was snowing and there were some competitions going on. By their uniforms I could tell three different ski schools, but they were not competing against one another: the kids were actually challenging their own team mates. And then came the prize giving. And I’m not speaking of some 3 or 4 kids… They were herds of kids, with their technical attires and gears and with their polished Milanese moms cheering enthusiastically.
Now I couldn’t help thinking to myself: how does it come that, when it comes to skiing, there are so many gifted brats? I mean, you don’t see so many children swimming or playing tennis or running or doing any other sport at competitive level. Just those happy few who really excel can be willing to sacrifice so much of their own and their family’s time and devotion to pursue their sportive goal at competitive level. On top of that consider that, in order to compete, skiers need to have more than a pair of skis (I was told they need at least three) and that stuff doesn’t come for nothing, so you would expect the kids to be some prodigies! They were actually very cute and very sweet in their uniforms (and some very little ones looked really adorable), but – as far as I saw – I dare say this was not always the case.
Then a friend of mine kindly explained to me that you can either take normal ski classes or sign up for competitive classes, buy all your attire and gears and join the “preparatory classes”: that is to say that – for a valuable consideration – you dress up right the same, you wake up at dawn, you ski until your legs wiggle, possibly you’ll never win a contest, but the overall impression remains untarnished, you definitely look like one of the competing team. 😳
Why all that? Because at the end of the day most Milanese mothers are deadly competitive (the hell if I understand why), and apparently want their little brats to succeed. Because competition and hard work build your character. Because confronting your peers teaches you a lot about losing and winning in life and playing by the rules makes you a better member of society. Now, I think I’ll dedicate the next few days here at the mountains studying this phenomenon and trying to understand what else “succeeding” can mean to these people.
As far as I’m concerned the Almighty C. is 5 and a half and the first time he put on a pair of skis was at Christmas. He’s now skiing a couple of hours per day starting at 12.30 so that after we can eat salami and French fries or any other hyper calorific food and go sledding around. But, you know, the Almighty C. is almighty 😏…