Monday, April 11, 2011


Whenever I go a long time without blogging, I feel guilty. And I always feel like I should explain why I took an impromptu hiatus. Because I've tried relatively hard not to become one of those bloggers who disappears and only returns to apologize for disappearing. So in lieu of an apology or a valid explanation, I will simply continue as if I had never disappeared.

My son started soccer last week. He's four and his instructor (me) has never played before. So given that combination, this was bound to be an interesting first team sport experience for him. And my goal was to teach him a few things that I thought would come in handy to help him perform better than the other less-athletic four-year olds. So I taught him one basic thing. And that was to use little kicks on the way to the goal and a big kick when he gets close to the goal. Brilliant advice if you ask me. Most kids that age just get in a big group and kick it as hard as they can. So that was the only insight I shared with him.

And we took him to practice and he performed wonderfully. I stood on the field with him and instructed him when to use big kicks and when to use little kicks. And my over-confident adult brain could not conceive of any possible problem with this strategy. Then came the first game.

What I failed to prepare him for was the fact that there was a completely separate team that was coming to the game. And they were going to attempt to kick the ball away from him at every opportunity. And needless to say, that was a shocker to him. And in hindsight, I should have predicted that. Because as far as he knew, soccer was just playing around with your friends and sharing. But the game started, and it was a rude awakening for him.

I imagine it was something akin to picking up golf with the impression that it was a no impact sport, only to be tackled as you take your first swing. He would do nothing but stand near the sideline and well up with tears. And that was completely my fault.

The happy ending to this story is that he got to play goalie for the last five minutes of the game. And he loves playing goalie. There's no fear of impact, he gets to purposely fall to the ground when he goes for the ball, and he gets to throw the ball over everyone else's heads. That was the saving grace for game day. And the other good news was that he had no less than 14 people there to cheer him on. So no matter what apprehension he felt during the game, it was quickly erased by the congratulations and high-fives he received afterwards.  So all we have to do now is get him ready for next week.

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