My Little Kingdom

A day in the life of me and my kingdom. Thoughts of a mother of four amazing little boys, a wife of an incredible husband and a woman trying not to forget about herself.

September 08, 2004

Cub Soccer.
Yes we have entered into yet another phase. A couple of weeks ago Everest started going to soccer practice. He never really got into it. In fact the coach tried to get him to join in and Everest points to the sky and says “LOOK, a dragon fly!” And that about sums up soccer practice. He wasn’t too keen on doing stretches and warm-ups. I tried to sit down and do the stretches with him but he leaned over and asked if I could go now. Ooops, my mistake, I guess that was embarrassing for him. Edison on the other hand really was getting into it. And when the coach had them all break out into a game of “Sharks and Minnows” Everest just stood there with a puzzled look on his face as if too say ‘I don’t know what you guys are playing but this isn’t soccer”. He was expecting to play soccer and this was anything but soccer. He wanted to get out and kick some ball. However, by the end of the third practice Cameron and I began to share that same puzzled look with Everest. Not once had there been any mention of the actual game of soccer. OK, I know this is cub soccer, how technical can you get. But, there was no let’s practice kicking it into the goal, no mention of what to expect at their first game, nothing. Just Sharks and Minnows. As he just stood there on the side while all the others where busy running around, I got up and went out there. As I approached him, he turned and whispered with his hand out in a stopping motion, “Mom, what are you doing out here?” Ok, I get the point this is embarrassing you. But, I took a moment to explain he needed to practice with his team…. it wasn’t happening.

So when game day arrived Cameron and I were anxious to see what he would do. That morning I asked if he was ready and excited to play. He said very concerned and thoughtfully, “I’ll have to think about that, I’m a little worried”. Apparently he’s gone to one too many of his dad’s soccer games, because he was worried the big kids would knock him over. And then there is Edison who is so excited to play and even has his own soccer gear and has to be included in it all or his heart is just crushed. Because his birthday falls in the month of October not in August he will not be able to play for another two years. And that breaks my heart. But, he is such a good sport about it and he comes all dressed and ready to play and he sits on his ball on the side lines and watches and waits.

Well the time had come and he wanted nothing to do with the field. He didn’t even want to go near it. While Edison is dying to get out on the field. Once they started he wouldn’t rotate in. Just as I reassured him that it was safe and no one was going to get hurt, a girl got nailed in the face as the soccer ball was thrown in. After some convincing we were able to get him on the field, with Cameron right by his side. So there is Cameron running around the field with a bunch of little four year olds and Everest is trying desperately to stay clear of them while trying to hang on to Cameron’s hand. He was so relieved when his turn was up. I gave him a hug and told him how proud I was that he tried. And asked him if he was ready to go out again, Shaking his head no as we witnessed two players running into each other and falling down. This wasn’t helping matters. Despite the minor mishaps he did go out two more times (with his dad right by his side avoiding the ball and all the little cub players). It was still a Victory!

After the game was over everyone packed up and left. We stuck around and Cameron and the boys practiced kicking the balls into the goals. Everest came alive and was kicking them in left and right, running his little heart out. Maybe by the end of the season he’ll be comfortable enough to play like that with his team. But, for now we’ll take the victories as they come.

Cameron and I have been learning a lot about parenting as Everest has entered into this new stage of life. Not only about parenting but we’ve been learning more about Everest and his personality and needs and more about us. It’s a delicate balance and there are many fine lines that need to be discovered and highlighted as we try and help him discover himself and become comfortable in the world around him. Over all I’m pleased with how we handled the game. We didn’t baby and pamper him nor did we force or shove him onto the field. We lovingly coaxed and encouraged until he was willing and ready to give it a try, even with his dad by his side. That’s ok, that’s what dads are for. And it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t play next time, I think the real goal here is that this frightening new horizon becomes positive and is a stepping stone for him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a really awesome story! It's pretty funny imagining a grown man running around a field towering over all the little kids. My daughter is turning one in less than three weeks and I already sit and watch her play, thinking about similar things that I might get to do. Not that my daughter seems shy (not at all), I hope that one day I get to do something very similar to Cameron's experience. I've already taught Abbi how to hold my hand while she walks around. It's something so simple that makes me the proudest.

I love reading your stories of your children, because it reminds me to enjoy the little things that could be considered frustrations. It reminds me to try and look at a situation through my daughter's eyes. I'm sure in a few years I'll have funny stories of my own to tell.

Ray Williams

6:41 AM  
Blogger Suzanne Moll said...

thanks for the comments, it's nice to know someone is enjoying my blogs as well as enjoying being a parent. it is awesome indeed to be apart of their lives as they experience new milestones.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a bit shy about commenting anybody's blogs but i just have to do it now because i've had a first hand view to cub/little league soccer. My dad ran a local soccer "school" and later "club" - he decided to call it a club after some parents were taking it too seriously and pressuring their kids to do better. He also felt that this way it was easier to get parents involved and help out in practices and matches.

The main issue was the very same as you've seen over there: kids develop at very different pace. My dad tried to run kids in groups according to their age for years before he came up with the idea to divide them in groups according to their abilities. Those kids that were all about the game kicking ball and trying to play had a bit more organized practice-like events few times a week. Other kids, maybe a little afraid of big bunch of other kids, maybe a bit unsure if the soccer was their thing or just hanging out there because their best friends went there, had a once a week session of games that somehow included a ball but not even a hint of actual soccer. Just a chance to get used to being in a group of kids and get familiar with the ball.

This seemed to work out amanzingly well. There were several situations every year that kids were moved (if they wanted to, not forced) from the "play" group to "practice" group because they developed social and soccer skills so fast that they got bored in the "play" group. Quite a few of these kids made it very well in the practices and were strong players in season ending tournament and matches.

Your approach to this is spot on, hope Everest's coach shares your view and patience to let everybody be involved and develop their own pace. As my point of view, i just can assure you with 11 years' experience from junior hockey and 6 years' experience from junior soccer, both as a player, that team sports are very good way to learn skills needed later in your life: commitment, loalty, team work and "sisu" (means guts and will in Finnish) to try again numerous times things he cannot yet accomplish or do but wants to.


1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I enjoyed the story relating to your kids, I find it more enjoyable thinking about the story relating to Cameron. You said that Everest was worried about being knocked over by big kids and that he must have watched too many of his father's soccer games. It conjured up images of Cameron playing with huge men and getting knocked over, but not in a "ooh he's getting his butt kicked sort of way." It's funny because it's almost like you're making fun of Cameron without meaning to. I'm sure Cameron holds his own :) (I'm also sure you didn't intend to make me think that, but it's funny nonetheless!)

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