They either participate or they don't and if they don't there is no form of bribery whatsoever that will cause them to reconsider the possibility of participating. Not ice cream at 11 a.m., not going bike riding afterward, not donuts, not breakfast and not Chuck E. Cheese.
Nope. Not even Chuck E. Cheese.
I know this from experience.
We started soccer last year when my son was three. We thought he was brilliant and talented and headed immediately to the World Cup because of his mad dribbling skills but as it turns out, he's just not that into it in a formal fashion.
Our very first game went like this:
Arrive at 9:30 for "practice."
Practice some more:
Promptly figure out that 30 minutes of "practice" before the game even begins (in 100 degree weather) is too long for a three-year-old, or at least, MY three-year-old.
Finally, game begins:
Game gets moving, even out of bounds and even crazy amounts of whistle-blowing can't stop. Lots of tiny soccer across the track and near the bushes.
Still not interested:
And when Mommy does a little "sweet coercion" bribery, she gets only this in return:
Which means, "No."
In case you were wondering.
Eventually, there was crying.
And because I never want a fun soccer experience to culiminate into crying we would just sit, drink some water, watch the other kids play and play on the side while the game would go on.
At first I thought something was wrong because he didn't want to play but then I'd see a few other kids peter out and then I'd see a parent yelling at one of the petered out ones and I decided that's not going to be me. If I ever want him to enjoy playing, it won't be that way and even if he wants to join the math club when he grows up just like his daddy, that's fine by me.
So the first season was all about dressing up for soccer. Because there was very little playing.
Second season was a step up.
There was no crying.
That's always a good thing.
Still lots of playing out of bounds.
Still not that interested.
But now we're at least on the field, so again, step up. And we might unearth the only set of bones from the Jurassic period in our area with the amount of dirt-digging and excavating that goes on and certainly that would be helpful to someone.
Tiny soccer is also where I learned something interesting about the little kid mind that I had not even considered before we began soccer.
We spend all day teaching them how to share, right?
Well in this instance, we're telling them they have to get out there and take the ball! And the taking is most definitely without asking, so imagine the look and the breakdown that occurred when he actually had the ball and someone came along and kicked it away, "without asking!!!!"
This one was sort of tough to explain but I think toward the end of season two, he started to get it and that's where we are for tiny soccer season three. Somewhere after crying but before actual playing.
I don't know what's in store for us for the next season (and I use the term "season" loosely) but I do know that there will be no crying, I do know that he was given the option to veto but he chose to keep going and I do know that if we spend the entire game on the sidelines, digging dirt or watching planes fly by, so be it.
As long as he looks like this when it's all over.
* * *
So what are your thoughts on kid soccer? Sports prodigy or eh, notsomuch?