September 15, 2007

Baby Steps and Small Victories

I think she really might be a little proud of herself...

The day has come and gone and 4YO finally played in her first official soccer game.

‘Played,’ however, might be too strong of a word. She showed up on time, in uniform, and she stood exactly where the coaches told her to stand. And that was what she did; she stood. For the whole game. For her parents, however, that was pretty huge.

There was no crying. There was no running to us. There was no longing looks or sadness while watching her family sitting safely on the sideline. There was, however, a look in her eyes that told me she was praying to God that that crowd of children and that ball never so much as came near her.

And they didn’t, for the most part.

(Yeah, I know we’re not supposed to keep score and all, but we totally creamed ‘em!!!)

As a matter of fact, the only goal the other team scored was actually scored by one of our own players. He was just so eager to kick the ball at SOME GOAL…

Maybe I almost made it too easy for her. I kept giving her little talks throughout the day about how exciting her first soccer game would be. I told her she didn’t have to score or win anything: She just had to try. She had to stay out there and do what the coach told her to do. That she did. Now, I know that they actually do want the kids to stay in their own general area to play their actual position. But, they also want them to help when the ball does come their way.

Well, she got it half right, I suppose.

As I was scrolling through the hundreds of pictures I took of that game (don’t doubt me, it really was hundreds) it’s like they tell a story. I have five or six shots of her team chasing the ball, kicking the ball. I have some good pictures of when they all got there at the same time and tumbled over one another to make one giant pile of cuteness. Then, in between those five or six shots, I have a picture of my 4YO. She’s standing in the field, exactly where the coach placed her. Sometimes, she looks like she’s working on a hangnail or something. Then, I get five or six (or twelve) more shots of the action. Then I took a few more pictures of 4YO as she kept that patch of grass from blowing away.

After the game, the parents all formed the ‘tunnel’ for the children to run through. Kids really look forward to things like that. Well, all kids except for my kid. She wanted nothing to do with that tunnel of strangers or most of the kids that they slapped hands with from the other team. They were, after all, strangers. As they got their granola bars and juice boxes and sat down to listen to their coach, something happened. I’m not sure what it was, but as the majority of the people packed up their chairs and headed out my 4YO decided she wanted to play. Soccer. She wanted to play soccer! She and the few of her teammates that remained started running up and down the field. Playing soccer and loving every minute of it. One of the coaches even said something like, “Where was that kid during the game?” She was there the whole time, but she was hiding I guess.

We are holding the ‘kitty bribery attempt’ over her head for as long as we can. That might even have been what kept her out there. Who knows? I’m just glad she stayed out there and now we have an actual place to begin and know what we need to work on. It was very entertaining for the parents, though. Do you think that’s why they start soccer so young? Nobody wins or loses and they don’t run the right direction all the time. Pure bliss for ‘camcorder-toting parents’ such as ourselves.

Now, I’m not trying to raise the next ‘Mia Hamm’ or anything. I’m just trying to raise a child that isn’t afraid of other children. When I think about it that way, her first game was definitely a victory.


Jessie said...

I see that you are doing this to get her to interact with other kids, and maybe she will eventually act like she likes it! Im hoping.

I used to hang in the nets. Why did they make me goaly? Im like a full back at best.

Then I tried soccer again as a teenager, only girl on my team. Let me tell you, THAT is why I hate strangers.

Wife Soup said...

That is funny, my guys first season he did a lot of rolling around on the ground and somersaults to get attention. This year (2nd season) he seems to have caught on. As soon as he made his first goal and heard everyone cheering it was like something clicked and suddenly he was making goal after goal. It seemed he was thinking, "Oh yeah, you liked that? Well, watch this!"