Surfer Dude went to auditions today for the upcoming play at our local Art Center. Gumby had planned on going too, but changed his mind at the last minute. He's getting into Junior High in a big way - joining clubs, acting in a school production, even going out for (and winning) student council, and he just decided he didn't want to take on one more thing. (To say this experience is different from when Sasquatch was in Junior High doesn't even begin to do it justice. Trust me on this.)
We knew we were in trouble immediately when we got the rehearsal schedule before they even read for the director. Every single rehearsal is at exactly the same time as his soccer practices. And the performances? Two shows on the same day as the end of season soccer tournament. Sounds like a no brainer, doesn't it? Obviously, you can't be in two places at the same time. But we were there, and he was psyched up, so he went ahead and auditioned. One of his best friends, who has been bitten bad by the acting bug, was there, too. Did I mention that they're also on the same soccer team?
The friend's mom and I sat together and commiserated. (Oh, all right. We cussed, okay? A lot.) This was a real dilemma. And like all dilemmas, there were many sides to it. There was only one given. No matter what happened, the parents would lose.
Her son, let's call him George (since that's his name), has gotten a couple of big parts recently, and has gotten addicted quick. I think he's really got a knack for it. Surfer Dude, who started acting at the same time, has gotten smaller (much, much smaller) parts in the same plays, but has had a blast doing it. He could potentially have a knack for it, but it's not blindingly obvious now. On the other hand, SD has shown recent signs of being a soccer force to be reckoned with. At the game this weekend, I couldn't understand the little acronym the coach was shouting to the players. I was later told that "G.I.T.S." meant "Give It To SD" to shoot. (And no, his initial isn't really an S. But I couldn't resist the thought of the coach yelling about GITS and referring specifically to my kid.)
We came home and had a long discussion. And besides what I think about eleven years olds having to make choices like this about "recreational" activities, I was really proud of how he dealt with it. In spite of the director offering to change rehearsals around if need be, he chose soccer- which he was already committed to - but will take an acting class that won't interfere at all with his practices. He completely got it when I said that sometimes if you overextend yourself and do two things you love that conflict horribly time-wise, you end up being so stressed that you don't enjoy either one. The verdict is still not in on his friend (or the soccer carpool that we do together), but I have fingers crossed.
I don't remember things being like this when I was eleven. And I'm really kind of glad for that.