soccer

 The kids played soccer again this year, and between the four of them we spent four  nights a week at the soccer fields. Unlike last year, there was no cancelling games for rain, so the season was nice and long.

It's interesting to watch the kids' personalities and interests diverge. Jordan, who came into her own on the field last year decided this year that she was again afraid of the ball, and despite being one of the most energetic kids I know she kind of dawdled around the field, more or less trying to sneakily avoid the action, as opposed to her wicked defense last year, where she was a heck of the obstacle for the other team to get around, with a powerful kick that often sent the ball back into the other end zone. But she had fun, enjoyed being part of the team and spent her fair share of goofing around and heckling other players - mostly those on her own team. Gotta love her.

Tennyson again hit the field with an aggressive determination that any goals scored would be scored by him. Luckily, there were a few other kids who shared the spotlight, and an awesome team of kids who played hard all season. His second last game was a very rainy one and I wore a hat to keep the rain off my glasses. I told him that if he scored three goals I'd throw my hat in. In no time the score was 3-0, and I was momentarily hatless. When the score reached 5-0 I told him he wasn't allowed to score anymore and that he should maybe think about passing the ball to someone else and share the glory. Then he pouted because we cheered like crazy when one of the girls (who had been trying like crazy all season to score) scored and he was convinced we cheered louder for her. Dork. We are going to put him into soccer all this winter (whew, an alternative to hockey) and see how it goes!

Mitchell, who liked to run just fast enough last year to keep him in the very back of the giant clump of running kids decided to run just a little faster this year and do some dribbling and a bit of scoring. We were impressed to see him putting in the effort, considering he's such a laid back little guy. He loves playing soccer, and win or lose, he's pumped to be on the field. He's also excited when it's his turn to sit out so he can hide under the blankets with the other subbed-off kids.

Elliot. This could be its own post. Last year, when she didn't get to play, she whined all spring: "Why not I play soccer? I wanna play soccer." So this year, when it was opened up for four year olds, we signed her up and excitedly waited for her turn.

Sigh.

She played the first game. She played the second. She may have made it part way through the third. Then she decided she wasn't playing. We'd get her all dressed up, head out to the field and tell her to run ahead an join her team. She stood on the field for a few minutes and then came back to where we were sitting.

"I'm not playing."
"What?" I (or Steven) asked. "Why not? Go play soccer! Look! You can do that!"

And she could! She is actually, for a four year old, pretty darn good at grabbing the ball from other kids and buzzing around the field with it, and kicking it at the net where it's supposed to go. But if Elliot doesn't feel like doing something no amount of coercion, threatening, pleading, or getting serious with her is going to work.

"I'm not playing." And off come the shoes, the shin guards, and if she's wearing another shirt underneath, her jersey. Then she runs off to do something else. She doesn't ask either, she just lets us know she's done.

Pretty sure she took a three week break from soccer after the first few games. Often we'd take her and she'd be ten minutes on the field and then just quit. After a while I'd just start asking her before we left the house if she wanted to play. If she said no we just didn't go to her game and instead we all watched Tennyson.

My "favorite" was the time she wore a dress to soccer. We couldn't get her out of the dress, so we brought her jersey, some shorts and her other gear and headed to the field. When the other kids jumped out of the van we stood in front of her and hurriedly said "Here, quick, change into your soccer stuff so you can play soccer! Yay!" and, caught up in the frenzy, she did. Fast forward ten minutes when she realizes what's happened and stomps off the field and stands in front of me with a look that says she won't be argued with and demands: "I want my dress."

"You can't have your dress," I sigh, knowing where this is going.
"I. Want. My. Dress." She says again, louder, slower, a little angrier, because obviously I am not catching on.
"Elliot," I say calmly and sternly, "As soon as soccer is done, I will get your dress for you."
"I WANT MY DRESS!" she hollers.
"Are you going to play soccer?" I ask.
She sits down. Off come her shoes and her shin guards. "I want my dress."
"Alright," I say. "Let's go watch Tennyson."

Tennyson is in another field, and Steven is working an evening service call and I figure that instead of standing on the sidelines and arguing with 40 pounds of brick wall I may as well watch Tennyson (he loves being watched, obviously.)

Elliot, as I am packing up my lawn chair, bug spray, water bottles, and her shoes and shin guards that are scattered in an eight foot radius of where she's standing, realizes that I am no longer paying attention to her needs. She sits down. "I WANT MY DRESS!" she screams.

"Bye Elliot." I turn and leave. She waits until I'm twenty feet away, and then finally gets up and follows at a distance, the entire time wailing "I want my dress!" at the top of her little screechy lungs. Of course on this night Tennyson is playing soccer four fields over, so all the kids and families on the eight other teams we passed got a good earful of wailing, screeching Baby Verwey. It was awesome. Then I get to his field, and organize my lawn chair, bug spray, water bottles, and drop her shoes and shin guards in the grass beside me. She comes and stands against my legs, pressing her little body angrily against mine.

"I want my dress!" She is stuck on repeat. Sigh. Eventually I put her on a dead spot of grass in an empty field and tell her she is in time out and she eventually finishes screaming at me and goes to play with the other soccer players' younger siblings.

Makes me want to rethink her plea to take gymnastics this year.

Anyway. It was a fun season. Lots of fresh air and exercise was had by all!

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