Teamwork is Wonderful for Building a Child’s Character

My friend, Beth, was talking to me about her son, Rob, who was a loner and had problems with authority. I was surprised to hear this because Rob had always struck me as a really polite, dedicated, and ambitious teen who was clearly going to get ahead in the world. Apparently, that was not always the case. Before the family moved here from Buffalo a few years back, Rob was constantly in trouble and failing several subjects.

Beth and her partner were at their wit’s end. She had discussions with several school staff members in order to get as complete a picture as she could of the situation. The one who expressed admiration for Rob was the gym teacher. Oh, he mentioned that Rob could be a real smart ass, but he also noted that the boy had definite physical ability that should be nurtured.

That gave Beth the idea of having Rob join some leagues. In our rural area, there are not a lot of choices. You can sign up for things in the city, but that means long car trips there and back that are simply not feasible on most people’s schedules. However, the county opened an air-supported dome awhile back and it offers league play for soccer, volleyball, and tennis.

Reluctantly, Rob signed up for all of them. The change came surprisingly fast: the boy developed a passion for the sports, especially soccer, and he grew to look forward to both the games and practice. His physique improved and that made him more confident. As Beth put it, “He can now be woo girls the right way instead of being an obnoxious jerk they don’t want to be around.”

Rob’s attitude brightened and he became used to a living his life by a schedule. That resulted in him enjoying school more, as well. Oh, he’d rather be kicking a ball around, but his marks are now all solid Bs. I’m really happy for both Rob and Beth.

Not actually Rob, but a pretty good likeness


Air Domes are Also Great for Kids

As a parent, I am always concerned about the amount of exercise (or lack thereof) that my kids get each week. During the warmer months, there are a number of activities they enjoy happening on a regular basis. My youngest son, Steven, can also go jogging or play soccer in the park with friends.

However, when the winter months come, my kids turn into grizzly bears looking for the closest cave to hibernate in. None of them like hockey or skiing, so they don’t want to do anything except play videogames and surf the net.

I was at my wit’s end, but thankfully a new solution emerged when an air-supported dome opened in the county. If you are not familiar with these engineering marvels, they are different from the giant football and baseball domes you see on TV.

Like the name says, these domes are inflated, but quite secure. There is no danger of them blowing away and a puncture or two will not cause them to collapse. The great thing for a small county like ours is the cost. As these structures are not permanent, they do not cost nearly as much as a conventional building. They are also comparatively easy to erect and take down. That way, an outdoor swimming pool can be covered with a dome during the colder months and thus remain available to the community in year-round, quality-controlled comfort. When summer comes, it is removed.

My oldest son, Blane, loves tennis and that is one of the activities on the schedule at the dome. He wasn’t interested in any league play, but loves the idea of being able to play every weekend. It allows him to both maintain and build upon his skill level.

There are quite a few activities available in domes, including soccer, volleyball, badminton, rugby, and even golf! If you have a dome in your area, call them or go online and check their activities schedule. Chances are you will find something of interest to you or your family.

The air-supported dome at Eastern Michigan University. Domes like this used to only be seen in such locations, but their usage is becoming more and more widespread. By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons