Monday, April 30, 2007


The Boy is a Unicorn

This weekend we went to The Boy's first official soccer game. His team has uniforms and everything, and played a team from the next town over. The field was still soggy from the 10,000 inches of rain we've had recently, so they played in a local soccer field bubble.

TB started as a goalie. The Wife, The Girl, and I sat on aluminum bleachers behind a net and watched the game. I wasn't prepared for the intensity with which we'd get involved. Any illusions of being above it all vanished at the first save TB made. The whole “psychotic soccer parents” thing suddenly made sense. Watching your kid out there is waaay more intense than watching, say, Game 7.

As with any intense sporting event, scandal erupted. Late in the game, after TB had cycled out as goalie and was playing in the scrum with the other kids (they don't really have much concept of 'positions' yet), some little miscreant head-butted him. TB has a massive bump right between the eyes. He looks like a unicorn. Bless his stoic part-Scandinavian heart, he didn't start crying until after the game when TW hugged him. He held the ice pack on his head until the game ended, and even went through the post-game high-five line with the other team with a poker face. I was hugely proud of him. It's all well and good to communicate your feelings and all that, but learning to compartmentalize when it's okay to let it out and when you should just sack up is a major life skill. He handled it like a pro.

Although his team was technically outscored, I'm pretty sure he didn't notice. His coach told him that his team won, and he believed it. In a way, it was true.

He has another game next week. I don't know how many more I can take.


Take it from a survivor of youth league soccer (mostly as a coach, but also a parent), the first year is the most intense. As TB gets older, the games become easier to watch because the assholeans (parents who think their kid is jumping to the pros as a 10 yr old) tend to drop out. They put so much pressure that the kid folds and finds an activity where his/her parents don't come along.

Enjoy the games, support TB every way you can, take an opportunity to meet parents you normally wouldn't come into contact with and nurture those new friendships. The key is HIS enjoyment! Youth sports is a great ride if you realize that you can't relive your sports triumphs or fix your sports failures through your children. Allow them to create their own and be there for support.

I can do the 20 minute lecture I gave the parents before each season if you'd like. ;-)
It does NOT get easier as the kids grow up!

ben t. came home with a huge black eye from this weekend's wrestling. I have a hard time watching those matches. the intensity, I think, increases the more the kids actually care about succeeding and work so hard at their practiices.

just my experience.


Looks like now is the opportunity to teach your child that while hard work is a key ingredient to success, it is not the sole determinant.
I can relate to this! My son is playing soccer and baseball. Every other game I tell my husband that I can't go to the games anymore. I'm sitting on the sidelines telling myself that all that matters is if Son has fun or not, but when he gets in there and mixes it up, I start cheering him on (read: screaming!). It's difficult. Plus he scored his first goal this weekend, so he's actually becoming interested in the game.
I, too, don't know how I'm going to handle 12 more years of multiple sports.
I am given to understand that it does get easier once you have more than one kid playing sports, which divides up the tribalism at least a little.
I hate organized sports for kids under 14 or so. I grew up on the streets of NY, where we organized our own games, goofed off and pretty much played in traffic. It was great, and no one had to wait for mom or dad to do stuff.

Later in HS I played on teams and did so also in college and beyond on club teams.
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