If you are going to move to a new country, you have to be willing to try new things. As some of you may know, Cassius has a tendency to gravitate to what he knows and what he likes. He likes pizza on Friday. He likes his ketchup to be Heinz. And he likes plans that have been put in place to remain there.
Living in Spain this year has put Cassius’ reliance on what he knows and loves to the test. And it has forced him to try some new things. These efforts aren’t always met with success, but Cassius has found a new sport that he enjoys. The sport is called Padel, and it seems that we may have a racquet enthusiast among our offspring after all. Padel is basically American Paddle Tennis or Platform Tennis with no lines and the side walls (la pared) and back wall (el fondo) in play. It is different than any racquet sport we have played, since power means very little. If you blast a ball, your opponent will simply let the ball pass, bounce off the back wall, and then hit it back on the return. This puts a premium on touch and feel and intelligence. Athleticism and racquet skills can only get you so far, and Karen and I can play against 70 year old men who are competitive with us. That makes Padel pretty unique and it is a ton of fun. Cassius really enjoys it, and it has been exciting for us to see him having fun with a new sport.
He has taken a couple lessons a week, plays with Karen and I, and enjoys that he is better than his older brother. His teachers Eduardo and David are awesome guys, and Cassius is having a blast. Padel seems to fit his personality, and he is better than anyone in this family at playing the ball of the wall–as an incredible amount of calm is required to play Padel well. Cassius has the “tranquilo” personality to manage the ricochets off the walls without becoming flustered. It’s perfect for him.
Now, Cassius hasn’t left his American passions behind. After all, he stayed up all night to watch the NFL draft, and he still swims, reads, and plays futbol. He scored the winning goal in the scrimmage during his final week of his technificacion training, and always plays with a smile on his face.
We also enjoy throwing the American football around in the plaza, and video games are only getting more exciting. But living abroad has opened him up to trying new things. This isn’t easy, and not every new foray (some spanish foods in particular:)) has been met with equal success. But we are incredibly proud of his willingness to try. In the case of Padel, it has struck the right cord.
As we look ahead to the coming year, Cassius has informed us that he may not be finished with his evolution as a renaissance man. He has become a fan of Bo Jackson after watching his 30 for 30, and liked Bo’s multi-sport approach in this era of specialization. Cassius has let us know that Rugby may be next on his list.