Monday, May 2, 2011

A Tale of Two Soccer Matches


We celebrated Papa's birthday with a cherry pie, per the birthday boy's request.

Connor eyeing up the competition at his soccer match.
Cooper standing on the field!
One more pic of Cooper.

Yesterday, Cooper and Connor participated in their first soccer games of the season. We had several firsts yesterday. I'll explain....

Cooper

Cooper competed in his first soccer match....ever! Again, my audacious 4 year old turned reticent when he approached the field. He clung to my leg. He begged me to accompany him during the game. He ensured all bystanders knew his exact feelings on playing soccer (to which I sheepishly replied to peripheral parents, "He begged me to sign up...I swear!")

After a few minutes, he agreed to sit with his teammates on the sidelines. Smack dab among the water bottles and excess soccer balls sat a grocery sack overflowing with sugary, empty calorie laden snacks. I explained to Cooper how youth soccer leagues work: you play for 45 minutes, you get a whole heap of snacks. Suddenly, Cooper adored soccer and couldn't wait to play.

The rest of the game, Cooper ran around the field with a smile plastered on his face, but he radiated when he got the snacks.

I suppose I would despair a little more about Cooper, if it wasn't for Connor's match.

Connor

Connor is competing in his third season of soccer. His very first game was rough. In fact, I dug up what I wrote about Connor's first soccer game, two years ago:

Connor began his first soccer game, without training or practice (due to several rain outs). The game began, six four year olds squared off on the field. The majority of the game consisted of the players clustered together kicking repeatedly whenever the ball was remotely close. Such tight quarters would frequently result in an inadvertent push or hit. Connor was frequently the recipient of the inadvertent kick or push. As a soccer novice, Connor assumed the players were intentionally pushing and kicking. As one of four brothers, I could see the wheels in Connor's head turning: "It's just like home. You have to push back." Just like that, Connor pushed his adversary.

Immediately the coach stopped the game. He shouted, "Would the mom or dad of player number one please remove him from the field." At that moment, I seriously contemplated acting like the mother of player number two or three.

Two years later, Connor is a completely different player. He works hard. He listens to his coach. He enjoys the camaraderie with his teammates.

Yesterday, Connor's efforts paid off; he scored his first goal (and two assists!). When I saw Connor dribble the ball down the field and aim for the goal, I held my breath. Then, I watched as Connor whizzed the soccer ball into the goal.

Connor beamed, as I erupted into cheers. Two years ago, who knew soccer would have clicked with Connor and I would proudly sit on the side and utter, "That's my son!"

There's hope for Cooper!

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