LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Not every student is intrigued by the list of sports and activities traditionally offered in school. A Louisville cyclist and his dad share their advice for succeeding in sports not affiliated with school.
Will Bobrow goes back to school as road cycling's national time trial champion in his age group. He expects to get a few puzzled looks.
"When I got into school, people asked, 'Cycling, what is that?'" Will says. "So, I started making the joke, 'I play cycling.'"
Over the years, Will and his dad Bob have learned how to be successful in a sport not offered in school. Bob Bobrow, Will's dad, says he encourages Will participate in a school-sponsored sport as a way to connect with other students and help them understand Will's favorite sport, cycling.
At the recent national championships, Will was posting pictures on social media. "One of the kids comments on it, 'Cycling is not a real sport'," Bob says. "It was kind of in jest, but that's why I think it's important for them to do something in school because their peers don't know what they're doing."
Will is also a cross country runner. He's a freshman at Trinity High School. Bob is already coordinating with Will's cross country coach, so Will can miss some school practices to train as a cyclist. In rare cases, good communication allowed Will to miss school at Barret Middle School to compete.
"We coordinated that with the principal there, and he realized that was a worthwhile activity. He was allowed to make up his work," Bob says.
Bob also says finding other parents of children with similar interests helps tremendously...for sharing advice and equipment. He frequently sells Will's old bike and equipment, at a reasonable price, to a cyclist smaller than Will.
Next, Bob says parents of athletes--in school sports or alternate ones--should communicate frequently with their athlete...
"So, I think it's important for a parent to stay involved in--are you tired, are you doing too much, those sorts of things," Bob says.
He also says it's important to have a good relationship with your athlete's coach.
"Don't just turn it over to a coach. Make sure you're involved in the process, you're talking with the coach. If you have a coach that doesn't like that, it's like having a doctor that doesn't like you asking questions. Maybe you need to find another coach," Bob says.
Will and Bob agree that sponsors are very important to the success of athletes not affiliated with a school.
"They really help out," Will says. "They provide us with the jerseys, shorts, socks, and helmets."
Will's sponsor is Papa John's founder John Schnatter which comes with an added bonus. "He'll come out and ride with us. It's really cool having a sponsor who'll come out and ride with you," Will says. "That's some extra motivation."
Ultimately, Will says his success comes from enjoyment. "I'm not going to be the next Michael Jordan. It would take a lot of pushing for me to do basketball, but for riding, I'd go out and do riding any time." Will adds, "I love it. It's my sport."
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