Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spectacular! Spectacular failure?

Team sports.  What are your thoughts on three year olds playing team sports?  Cute huh?  I thought so!  I thought that it was a great idea.  Get him out!  Get him playing with kids his own age.  
Teach him how to play in teams.  Have a cute little uniform!  Get him running so that he will have nice solid naps! (Alterative motives)   There were so many pluses to signing him up for soccer through National Youth Sports.  We went with this place because our City’s park and rec don’t let three year olds play but NYS does.  I think there might be a reason….. 

First practice...team huddle!  Go Tigers!
So when I first signed The Boy up I double checked that he was old enough since the form ask for his age as of last September.  I called and talked to a guy who said that he was fine.  No problem that he didn’t turn three until two short months ago.  When we showed up for parent’s orientation, it was a nut house.  We went to a local high school cafeteria where were directed to a table with a bunch of other parents equally as confused as this was their first time too.  There were two other boys along with Levi.  We all kinda sat there listening to the guy talking about uniforms and sizes and what not.  We had no clue.  No clue whatsoever as to what we were doing.  Pretty soon a youngish mom came over and informed us that she was the coach.  There was a collective sigh of relief because up until then I think we all thought that we had to be the coaches and no one seemed excited about that.  At all.
So Coach Katie said that her son would make up our four man team and practices would be on Tuesday afternoons.  We went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and got a wee little soccer ball and wee little soccer cleats and wee little shin guards.  The Boy was so excited to put on all of his gear and kick the ball around.  I could just tell this was going to be spectacular! 

Juanito covers practices since I am still working.  We have had two so far.  The reports from practice well…we’re 50/50 on participation.  One of the problems Juanito has identified, like right away, is that practice is at a local park and there is a playground.  With a slide.  And swings.  And a ton of other things The Boy wants to play on.  None of which are part of soccer.  So practices are hindered in a major way.  Also, you’ve got four three year olds running around a park.  How the hell do you get them to “run drills”????  The first practice went fairly well.  The second was a nightmare for Juanito.  I’m sure that he was expecting that The Boy would be the next David Beckham or Pele, or at least be on the path to that future.  But what he ends up with on Tuesday afternoon is a three year who is still struggling with potty training and understanding the world as a “Big Boy.”

Saturday was the Tigers’ first game.  We went to a nearby junior high field.  We thought this location would work in our favor since there would be no playground. There were a ton of games going on, lots of parents and kids and grandparents.  We ran into some friends who had their four year old playing.  They wished us good luck with a sympathetic tilt of the head and a laugh that says that they truly felt our pain in the unknowing and the inevitable way.  Coach directed us to a little field off to the side of all of the other fields.  Our friend laughed and made a comment about how they used to be in that little jail.  Hahaha….and off we go. 

Isn't this the cutest uniform?  Ever?
Well, The Boy did not want to put his bright orange

socks on and he definitely didn’t want to wear his shin guards.  Coach told us not to worry, pick your battles.  But when we got to the field and the ref showed up she said he must wear them.  Well, The Boy didn’t care what the ref said.  He wanted to play on the bleachers.  He wanted his shoes off and to wiggle his toes in the green, cool grass.  He wanted to play in the mud.  He did not want to play soccer.  We begged and pleaded.  Juanito huffed and puffed and I sternly told him if he couldn’t keep his cool I wasn’t doing this with him anymore.  When the going gets rough, turn on one another.  That’s part of the marriage vows right?

The game started with only two little Tigers (One of the other boys was sick and didn’t show up).  When there was a glimmer of interest in the game from The Boy, Coach’s father yelled at him that he needed to put his gear on.  I know this.  I was so frustrated with the situation that his “directive” was the last thing I needed.  And from that man’s actions, I’m pretty sure his berating is why Coach played soccer for 12 years.  Sadly, by the time we got his gear on and Coach’s attention, The Boy was ripping the guards off.  Needless to say, the game ended with the same two little Tigers playing.  Coach’s son carried the Tigers to a huge win and the other little boy really enjoyed running around because he never stopped smiling.  It was the longest 30 minutes of my life.  

So the further away from soccer-pocalypse we get I have been thinking.  Did we start too young?  The other boys did not wear pulls-ups with their uniforms.  Is The Boy still too young? Should we have waited until he was older and had better control of not only his bodily functions but his emotions?  Coach made a comment at one point: this is why we do this when they are young.  I’m not sure if I get why she said that but I took it as this is just part of growing up.  We will get through it, but did we jump the gun? 

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