Monday, April 2, 2012

His First Soccer Game

It was  beautiful and sunny in The Old Pueblo on Saturday.
Mr. 6 was playing in his first soccer game and I was there to cheer.... and to reflect... and to remember.
I've watched a lot of soccer in March.
This is the first time I wished I'd had an umbrella.
Even at 11am, the smart parents took refuge under shade.
In Chicago, in March, we were wrapped in parkas, scarves and sweaters.
We washed mud out of uniforms and wondered if, perhaps, the chess club might be an alternative.
That was not the case last weekend.
It was the first game of the season, the first game of their lives for most of the players, so the coaches were actively involved.
Mr. 6 and his teammate were ushered to their defensive positions and told to stay there and guard them.
And that's what they did. No matter if the ball came their way or not, they stood still and protected their area of the turf.
Clearly, help was called for.
"Follow me," the coach instructed.
That part was easy.
"And now what do I do?" wondered Mr. 6. 
He was in the right place, but what, exactly, was defense anyway?
By the second quarter, he'd learned to watch the ball, but those feet were still planted firmly on the ground.
Defense.... marking up... staying with your man....he seemed to have that covered, too.
Unfortunately, both players were on the same team.
At least they were paying attention.

As time went on, they began to get into a rhythm, and Mr. 6 began to move his feet.

Half time included instruction...
and hydration
 and snacks.
The second half was filled with more enthusiasm...
and more skills... though the coach-cum-mom was still there, making sure .
There was the occasional fast break.
But mostly it was still "herd ball"... everyone converging on the poor soccer ball.... with nobody noticing that it's behind #9's shoes.
It was unseemly to laugh.... but we did nonetheless.

And then it was over... with an "all in handshake" and a sense of belonging to something larger than oneself.
 It may not have looked much like soccer, but there are other lessons to be learned.

For me, it was a rocket back in time to Pumpkin Tigers and Silver Bullets and Daring Devils... little ones and big ones but always mine. 

I'm sure that Mr. 6 and his teammates have no idea how much joy they brought to my heart.
But watching parents doing just what I did 20 years ago, with the same smiles and tissues and hugs and ice packs, with the cameras and the siblings to be amused and the relatives to entertained, wondering why in the world we were standing on the sidelines watching little kids run around.....
 and then realizing that we didn't want to be anyplace else in the world.

Thanks for including me, Mr. 6.


  1. Although SIR and his siblings never played soccer, I fondly remember the T ball games. I remember my daughter's first (and last) season. She LOVED the uniform and didn't want to get it dirty. She chased butterflies and did cartwheels in the outfield. SIR and his brother played season after season and we sat through rain and snow and sometimes with mittens and winter coats. In the humid summers, we were drenched with sweat and dirt. We loved every minute of it!

  2. A favorite memory - and I'm sitting here grinning because of your post...
    First soccer game with the 5 year old.
    The goalie was under the goal, wearing his winter coat, and playing in the dirt when - the ball started moving toward him. His mom yelled - we all yelled. But - the buttons on his jacket hood were stuck in the goal and he couldn't move.
    Thanks for my evening giggle!

  3. I'm laughing along with you both! We had a rule on the 5 and 6 yr old teams - no daisy chain making in the out field :) It had absolutely no effect on the kids' behavior, but it made the parents feel better.

    Still giggling about the buttons stuck on the goal....

  4. The Daring Devils did NOT play herd ball.... No Ma'am. We won the Fall Kick Off for crying out loud!!

  5. Yes, you did, Little Cuter! And I have the trophy in my closet to prove it!
    a/b (mom)

  6. it is my own hornor to possess a see your blog,it is really D3 Gold

    Guild Wars 2 Gold


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