There’s no such thing as a free…..tennis lesson

A fellow school mom emailed me that Calgary would be hosting its third annual All Sport One Day event, in which children aged 6-12 have the opportunity to try two different sports. For free.

I saw the word ‘free’ and clicked on the website. I found that, true to form, Calgary-mothers had left me in the dust. Again. And many of the ultra popular activities had already filled up. Like rockclimbing, gymnastics and hip hop. So I signed our seven year old up for a free tennis and karate lesson.

Saturday morning came and I remembered with a somewhat sinking heart that I’d signed up for all this incredible free instruction and I’d be spending the bulk of my morning….chauffeuring our would-be athlete around town.

I consulted Google for driving directions to the first location. Which turned out to be a gazillion miles south in an unknown-to-me suburb. ‘Where are we going?’ the professor asked when we climbed into the car. He rolled his eyes and sighed heavily when he learned we’d be crossing the U.S. border for this particular freebie.

Okay, it was really ‘only’ 20km, but what can I say, I’ve amassed quite a reputation for myself with my recently acquired habit of scheduling extracurricular activities at the most inconvenient times….and locales. (Driving thirty-five minutes north during [rainy] rush hour for swimming? Yes! Please!)

Thirty minutes before the scheduled event, we arrived at the Shawnessy YMCA. And my several-years-ago suspicion was confirmed: I like the suburbs. A brand-new, light-filled recreation center….attached to a public library…..and a soon-to-open farmer’s market? Oh, and an Aldo outlet nearby which the professor conveniently sped past?!

Sign me up.

Oh, wait, I did: sign up.

An hour and fifteen minutes later, we left with an orange-shirt-clad tennis pro, a disappointed younger brother who had dressed for a soccer game that didn’t happen, and a baby brother who had no interest in ‘sitting down’ and ‘waiting’ for anything.

And we still had….karate….17 km to the north.

We hopped in the car and picked up glutinous fortification at the bread shop and we drove towards the Talisman Centre where karate instruction awaited us.

The younger boys were mesmerized by the diving facilities at the Talisman. They stood, with noses pressed to the glass wall, watching people wearing swimsuits and swimcaps; doing the pointy-toed jumps that divers do….before hurling themselves off terrifyingly high platforms into the water. Backwards.

Naturally, the younger boys wanted to watch the divers. They did not want to watch their oldest brother shouting hi-yah in an overly warm karate studio. I couldn’t help but sympathize with the plight of the younger sibling: always operating within the confines of the oldest sibling’s schedule. (Well, the oldest sibling’s mother’s schedule, really.)

When we finally got home, nearly five hours after we’d left, the professor and I were thoroughly exhausted. ‘Put in a movie, put in three movies,’ I muttered as I headed upstairs to collapse on my bed.

But not before checking email, and finding out…..we’d missed soccer team pictures.

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