Summertime and the livin’ is geeky
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Ah, summertime! When a young boy’s fancy turns to thoughts of…endless gaming. Not exactly how Alfred Lord Tennyson would’ve waxed about the season of ripe mangoes, colorful harvest festivals, and out-of-town excursions, but then the Victorian-era poet didn’t live in our time.
We are 30 days into our summer vacation, and I have yet to get Motito involved in any enrichment activities that promise to engage children in meaningful and memorable experiences with like-minded peers and caring mentors. Oh, I’ve signed him up for swimming lessons and a hip-hop dance class in May, but whenever I hear or read about other parents micromanaging their children’s summer break I question whether I’m doing enough. To assuage my feelings of parental guilt, I enrolled Motito in Milo’s Summer Chess Clinic.
Milo’s Summer Sports Clinic is a nationwide program that encourages children to make the most of their summer through sports. Throughout the country’s summer months of April and May, the Milo Sports Clinic programs offers training in Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Chess, Cross Fit, Fencing, Football, Futsal, Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Skating, Karatedo, Parkour, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Touch Rugby, Triathlon, Volleyball and Yoga for school children aged 7 and above.
Sports help children develop essential values in life like determination, discipline, teamwork, perseverance, hard work, respect, and confidence. Participants in Milo’s Summer Sports Clinics are taught by expert coaches and instructors who use modern, scientific approaches.
Why chess? Like me, Motito is not what you would call athletic. He took roller skating and tennis lessons in Chennai, but he didn’t show any interest nor demonstrate encouraging progress. Every time he went for his lessons, I would get the impression that he was merely going through the motions to please me. As someone who didn’t do well in physical sports as a child, I could feel his frustration.
Chess seemed like a good fit, because it doesn’t require the level of physical agility, speed, and coordination that other sports do. Sure, chess may give the impression of being a geek’s sport, but my son didn’t seem to mind. Motito had taken his first tennis lessons in Chennai six months before. His teacher, a kind gentleman who coached chess at a private school, came to our home and taught him one-on-one. Wanting to my son’s spark interest in the game, the chess teacher had spoken glowingly about Filipino grand master Wesley So, and told Motito that he could be one, too, if he worked hard enough. He had complimented Motito on his concentration and ability to learn fast. The teacher may have been flattering me, but it worked.
Organized by the Metropolitan Chess Center, the Milo Summer Chess Clinic of seven sessions and culminating into a tournament. The Clinic is open to Open to kids who are 7-16 years old, while courses offered are for beginners, intermediate and advance.
Motito gamely attended all his training sessions. He actually participated in two successive clinics, beginners and intermediate. In his first tournament, he won a medal and was given a certificate of participation. Though he didn’t get a medal in his second tournament, he told me he had a lot of fun and would do it again the next year.
As for me, I’m glad that there’s at least one sport that we can say he plays.