Monday, June 1, 2015

Boots the Soccer Player

Boots just played her final game of her first soccer season over the weekend. It was something of a wish fulfilled for me, as I have not-so-patiently waited seven years for the privilege of sitting on the grass cheering my kid and her team to victory. Not that victory is what happened, they don't keep score, but if they did I'm pretty sure the other team won. Who cares? It was intensely fun watching her play. Even Berzo enjoyed herself, tossing out a, “Go sister!” now and again.

Charley and I love sports, but neither of us knows soccer. I think that's part of the appeal for Boots. We may have ruined baseball for her, it's difficult watching your parents who have a lot of experience with baseball play around and have fun, while you don't have the first clue as to what's going on. Whereas with soccer, she's way ahead of our curve. And bonus, she doesn't have us giving her complicated advice that's not appropriate to her playing level, she just has her parents watching, cheering, and having fun.

I'm not giving up on baseball though. One day, I will watch my daughter (at least one of them) play in a baseball game, even if it costs me a bribe.

Team photographer Charley.
It has been fun for Charley too. This is the first time Boots has had an activity that interests him and that that he's available to involved in. He her took her shopping for her gear, drove her to practices, bought her goals for playing at home, played with her at home, and pretty much managed her season.

Being the family with younger kids in the neighborhood, we have heard stories about competitive coaches that yell at the kids, out-of-control parents—the works. We were spared all of these problems. The coach is the nicest guy; he rotates the girls frequently, is always giving guidance, and notices what they do right. The thing he says the most was some variation of, “Are you having fun out there?” The parents alternate chatting with each other, chasing roaming toddlers, and cheering for the kids. Nobody gets mad. Nobody shouts.

The kids are great too.  They play their hearts out, but I hear them saying, “Oops sorry!” when they bump into a member of the other team. Although the game is rife with bloopers, e.g. kids running up to the ball to put on a big kick and missing the whole thing,  nobody jeers, they just run back and try again. It's exactly as young kid's sports should be, building skills, gaining experience, learning to take turns, realizing making mistakes is part of the process, setting up team members by passing and playing defense, and cheering each other on.

Until Boots expressed an interest in soccer, I had all but given up on her playing a team sport. She just didn't seem to have the drive for it, but she was just waiting to be ready and get to start on her own terms. I couldn't be more proud of her, she listens and responds to the coach's directions, catches on quickly to new skills (rather than obsessing about whether or not she can do it), she rolls with her mistakes and gets in the thick of things—all of which are brand new for this kid. She has done well and learned much.

What a fun season.

What fun it is to get a front seat to watching a person grow.

Boots showing off her moves. :)

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