Michael will try just about anything. If I am feeling adventurous and want a buddy to try something new with, I can always count on Michael. New activities, new foods, new places, new people...whatever the case, Michael is nearly always up for the experience.
When he was little, he would eat anything I made for dinner. His favorites included the usual kid friendly fare like grilled cheese, tomato soup, chicken nuggets, etc., as well as Thai foods and strange Indian concoctions. He would actually turn candy down and pick interesting vegetables instead, like asparagus and squash. He still prefers fresh fruits for snacks and homemade yummy dinners over fast-food. He is the perfect ethnic restaurant companion as he could go anywhere and find something good to eat.
From trying new foods, to riding the Tower of Terror at Disneyworld when he was only 7 (this was one of the scariest rides I have ever been on), to roughing it with his friends in the wilderness with no modern day luxuries, to experimenting with homeschooling, to training a dog the size of a small bear, Michael eagerly accepts each challenge. One of the best examples of his 'just do it' attitude is his present day hockey playing abilities. Here in our neck of the woods, hockey is a BIG deal. Upon moving here, most of the friends Michael made played hockey...back in the cities, we rarely heard the word. So, one winter day, he made up his mind that he would like to play too. Not being a very athletic family, Bob & I were entirely skeptical of the whole idea: it was an extremely expensive sport, time-consuming, the season had already started 2 months ago, and he was already so behind at the age of 10...all the kids out here start skating at age 3 (no kidding), and Michael had never even been on skates before!
He kept asking, and we reluctantly let him give it a try. We feared most for his disappointment as he would certainly realize how tough it was. He was put on teams with kindergarten kids who skated circles around him despite their teeny tiny size as he was struggling to remain upright. He spent more time on his derriere than on his feet...but he would simply get up and try again. We made it to as many practices as we could, and slowly but surely, my son was learning how to skate...and he was liking it. But it was such painful and slow work. Certainly he would soon grow bored and weary of this?
Michael is now starting his 3rd season of hockey. Not only has he caught up to the level of his peers, but he is currently one of 3 of the best skaters on his hockey team, and clearly the "smartest" player. He has made improvements by leaps and bounds by sticking with it and practicing whenever he can in the driveway, attending extra camps in the summer, and reviewing his own skating on DVD. He never let his inexperience get him down....it has been so very exciting watching him improve from season to season, game to game. My son who once struggled to keep his balance on the ice, is now slamming big kids into the boards and taking the puck away. He's making goals, playing his position, and encouraging his teammates. He never gave up and had his eyes fixed on his goal...to learn to play hockey and have fun with his friends. In addition, he has recently learned how to skateboard and has gotten involved in paint balling too. He has shown us all that hard work really does pay off and that achieving what seems so difficult is really not so when your sights are set on the goal ahead. He can accomplish anything that he wants to, and it is so much fun watching him do it so very well.