Elizabeth started taking a soccer clinic when she was 4. It met once a week, and basically it was just a series of fun drills. This year, now that she’s going to be 6, she’s ready for soccer league. Soccer leagues apparently have their own little code language and traveling teams and blah blah blah that I am only just beginning to be frightened of learning. But whatever, bottom line she’s on a team coached by a friend of ours, they practice at the park right by our house, and it’s all friendly and low key, oh, except that we are scheduled to the max every.single.Saturday.morning.through.November. Yeah, that little thing of adjusting your whole life around your kid’s activities. Welcome to the next 16 years of our lives.
Which reminds me, one of my child-free friends asked me a question about some activity one evening and I replied, can’t, school night. Which caused her to bust a gut laughing and she said, oh, I haven’t thought of schools nights in years. Yeah. Haha. Me either.
Anyway, now we’re on an actual team, with uniforms, and cleats, and shin guards, and games. Wow. They don’t keep score, there’s no out of bounds, and they play 4x4, with no goalie.
Here’s the team.
And here’s the first game, with Daddy/Andrew cheering from the sidelines. The first 5 minutes of the game were definitely a highlight – it was a whirling dervish of kids and the ball, utter chaos at a fast pace until they burnt the excess energy and settled in to a level of moderate chaos.
Elizabeth had a nice dribbling run at one point, but overall was not a fan of games. “But there’s only 1 ball! And we all have to chase it!” That, plus a mid September cold spell which made the tip of her nose numb left her not loving soccer, though she is a huge fan of the cleats. But, she still likes soccer, and is looking forward to practice tonight.
And then there’s Andrew. Poor little guy has ben carted along to Elizabeth’s activities since he was a newborn, and has in general been a trooper, though a fairly disappointed trooper when forced to remain on the sidelines. Even though the clinic starts at age 3, I knew I had to get him into it this fall. Because, as we all know, Andrew is a ball guy. Anything and everything to do with sports thrills him to no end. He wants to play.
Once Elizabeth started school and her activities kicked in, he’s been asking every day when his soccer class and music class starts. Not yet, little guy, but soon – next week, we’d reply, leaving him a little bit crushed. So I woke him up in the morning by whispering, guess what today is? Soccer day! Which caused him to leap up. He desperately wanted to wear his soccer outfit all day, but the shirt is white, and his nanny told him he needed to wear another shirt and change into his soccer shirt before practice. This did not go over well, and he sulked for a bit.
Rich and I both took off work for his first soccer practice, and as I drove he and Elizabeth to practice, he made up a song about how excited he was to be going to soccer. At the field, the other kids milled around their parents, but Andrew was ready and kicked the ball back and forth to me to warm up. And once it started? Well, he paid rapt attention to Coach Pablo.
Every question that was asked Andrew raised his hand and/or shouted out the answer (except the first question was, who went to school today and he looked around as every other kid raised their hand, poor little guy). Every time they moved around or changed activities, Andrew moved his way around the pack of kids to position himself right next to Coach Pablo. He gamely attempted every activity, though he was one of the smallest in the class. The only time he age really showed was when the coach would “trick” them (asking them to run to the blue spot, when they were already on the blue spot, for example). He’d take off along with a handful of other kids, and have to be called back. He was just so eager to DO, and that’s just clearly a development thing, a lack of true comprehension skills at age 2.75. It is always hard to remember he’s not even 3 yet. There is not much holding this guy back.
And how did Elizabeth enjoy being carted along to Andrew’s activity? Well, two of her friends and soccer teammates have a younger sister in Andrew’s class, so the three of them amused themselves by ripping a dead branch out of a tree and marching it around. You know, safe self-directed activities like that!