Once more it is June. Again. And again I embark upon that epic effort of daily blogging, take three, wherein I call upon myself for a kind of rambling focus, picking from a list of daily topics, and with neither planning nor advance writing, strive to pepper this blog with the free-thought, free-writing wonder that is another one of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 10th // Something You Have Felt
I’d be the first to admit it: Our first few nights at soccer practice have been anything but a prime example of athleticism.
I’m also not exactly one to talk. My earliest memories of team sports were the dawdling not-quite-all-star, filling my baseball mitt with sand, far out in the field on a t-ball team where no one ever –ever– hit it outside the diamond.
Claire spent her first few soccer games emulating her father. Not the new-and-improved athletic dad, the dad who is leading marathon groups and getting Facebook kudos for being a great coach. No, the dawdling kid who squatted down and pulled grass while his team mates made the runs and the goals and the scores.
So we sat down and chatted.
“What’s the most important thing?” I asked her.
We’d talked about this. She had been worried about being no good. She had been worried about not knowing what to do. “To just have fun.” She replied.
After a few fumbling, dawdling evenings of soccer practice, I had finally taken the time to try and elevate her out of the funk. She has always been a determined kid, but the determination kicks in more often when she’s got either a clear goal or a sense that she can at the very least perform proficiently. When it comes to trying new things –honestly– she’s tended to throw in the towel pretty quick.
“To just have fun.” She replied.
“That’s right.” I agreed. “Now, here’s the thing: when you’re having fun you still need to listen to the coach and help the other kids have fun, too, right?”
“And the other kids there probably want to kick the ball and play soccer, right?”
“And if you can, try to get in there and kick that ball to the other kids on your team. Y’know, help them out.”
We were bundled up. It was freaking cold out this evening. It’s mid-June and the temperatures are only a few degrees above freezing. I was wearing three layers and a toque and I was still sitting there on the sidelines shivering, my toes slightly numb.
They practiced. The did some games and some drills.
They ran some short laps and kicked their balls at the nets.
I bundled up in my blanket and lawn chair.
Then a game: and I settled in kinda expecting a replay of the last few games. I expected to sit on the side nudging my daughter to “pay attention” and “quit pulling up the grass” while the game went on at the other end of the field.
But something had clicked. Maybe. She was in there. She was fighting for the ball. She was aggressively booting it away from the other team, intercepting and stealing the play to her advantage.
a grin so big I could see it from the far end of the field
And then it happened. She stole it and broke away. She was a good three paces ahead of the other kid and she handled it a third of the length of the field and right into the net. Goal! Her very first goal.
With cheers from the crowd, a high five from her coach, and a grin so big I could see it from the far end of the field she ran back to us and we let her have her moment, bragging it up right then and there.
A dad can be a little proud, can’t he?