The most fun game of soccer I’ve ever played in my life came after I gave a suggestion to one of D’s soccer teachers.
D goes to “Break it Down” Total Sport every Saturday morning where he’s learned how to play basketball, baseball and now is learning to play soccer.
My suggestion was about how to better spread out the players on the field to prevent kids from clumping in one big mass.
Really, though, I was lobbying, for a parent vs. kids game. That’s how D’s teacher interpreted my comment (since I’d advocated a parent vs. kids baseball game.)
She suggested I form the parents together into a team for a scrimmage. Several moms said they’d never played soccer.
“Doesn’t matter,” I said. “Just kick the ball when it comes to you.”
That’s how it felt it felt on the field with the kids and parents who, moments earlier, had been sitting mostly separately in lawn chairs.
When I kicked the ball back to our goalie (as I’d seen U.S. women’s soccer players do in the World Cup), she yelled out, “What do I do with the ball?”
This is why it was perfect.
“We need a parenting class,” I heard one of the teachers say.
We kept score (at least, I did in my head), but I don’t the score mattered to most the kids or parents. I was running all over the field modeling enthusiasm, so I told myself.
Really I was having fun. I scored a goal and celebrated by running with my arms in the air. It was pure emotion, not manufactured. It was real, believe me.
Again, I was modeling expressing emotion with my whole body.
The Wife will say the class is about D learning to play soccer. Not me becoming the center of his soccer class by running all over the field.
I get this. But I advocated for a parents-kids game because any skills is more caught than taught.
My hope is that D observed sports take effort and grit and it’s a joy kicking a ball and scoring a goal.
In the middle of the game, D ran up to me and hugged my waist. We embraced for a few seconds before I ran after the ball.
But I will remember this moment. At first, I was upset e wasn’t focused on the game. Then I realized he was simply expressing joy and love.
As for the development of his soccer skills, his aggressive nature has yet to manifest itself on the field.
I can tell he’s got the basics down, and I plan to stand back and encourage him more to go all out.