Thursday, April 21, 2016

His First Soccer Game - Archive Edition

This was first posted on April 2, 2012.
He's almost 11 now, and understands defense and protecting the ball and teamwork.
He's just as lovable now as he was then.

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. Such cuties! I need to see if my little guy would like soccer. He does do Tae Kwon Do and is getting another belt tomorrow. He's doing well in it.

    Always love when you post pics. :)

    Happy Thursday.

    Megan xx

    1. The kid has moved on to basketball... it's SO hot here to play outside. He and his brother are also doing Tae Kwon Do and loving it.

      Glad you like the pictures!

  2. Yes. I remember when my son played soccer. It was so cute. He was a high energy kid so it was perfect for him to run up and down the field and very often he was not near the ball, just running! Memories are so wonderful.


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