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Friday, August 20, 2010

Tiny Soccer


Tiny soccer is a gamble.

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?


Deb said...

I think it's good to let kids try things out if they want to. I don't care for the parents that push kids into sports when the kid is definitely not at all interested. But you do need to talk them into it at least once or they will never know. We had our kids in t-ball and soccer and gymnastics and cheer. They didn't stay for more than a season or two and then decided it just wasn't for them. But they got the experience and learned a thing or two about working as a team (term used loosely)
I think if we had not moved they would have stuck it out.

~Mendie~ said...

oh they look so cute even if they have no clue what they are doing!

Robin said...

As long as he still wants to go. This will be Nate's last season of soccer. Just not that interested still. Ethan was different, he played in the dirt until he was maybe 6, then all of a sudden he was a player. Chance found 4 and 5 not that interesting, at one point I remember the coach putting him in the goal and he got his arms totally tangled in the net (picture 12 little kids running after the ball, charging the goal and the goalie trapped in the net knowing someone is going to shoot the ball). They are all fine now. Chance will be playing his senior year of Varsity soccer, Ethan still plays, and Nate will eventually find his own thing. We of course have a small swampy area near the field where the little ones play and there are way to many frogs and other things to explore for him.

Melissa said...

Hayden is going to start First Touch soccer in a few weeks. He will be 3.5-years-old when we start. My expectations aren't high, but I do hope he participates to some extent and doesn't cry. we'll see...

Dakotapam said...

Our soccer experience was much the same. So we took a break, and then added in little league baseball which was far too boring (a lot of sitting and waiting turns) , followed by much success with sixth grade basketball, and then curling for two seasons. Now as a freshman, he is trying his hand at Cross country. This is from a non athletic family:) I do let them decide for themselves after age five or so.

By the way, got my cap and water bottle today! Awesome! thanks!

Anonymous said...

That's how Emma was too. When we asked her if she wanted to play this fall, she said no.

Dave looked at me and said "That's it. She said no. Don't ever bring it up again."

She's in gymnastics now and LOVES it!

Beki said...

I love this post! I am with you - no yelling at the kids. Sports are something to be enjoyed, ESPECIALLY at this tender age!

Hudson started his first season of tiny baseball when he had JUST turned 4. OMG it was THE cutest ever! That batting helmet was as big as he was! I will never forget at the first practice, there was much playing with the flowers, running around in the grass and playing in the dirt, by all the kids. I instructed Hudson not to play in the dirt. His response, "well what's it there for then?" Ummm, damn - good point. LOL

He loves baseball and karate! I have a rule. You must finish what you start. But after that if you don't like it, you don't have to do it again. He's played 3 seasons of baseball and been in karate for about 6 months. He always wants to go back!

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