Not just a soccer mom
It was a cool, windy day a couple weeks ago when I made the second of my twice-weekly trips to the St. Paul soccer fields with my five-year-old son. The last practice had gone much more smoothly than what I was walking into on this specific day.
This season is my sonís second year playing soccer, and I am very thankful to see how much Gavin has matured and grown in the past year. Last year was close to torture, and most practices involved me coaxing Gavin awake when we arrived at the soccer fields, then continually coaxing him to stay on the field, and then coaxing him to play soccer with his team.
This year, I decided we would attempt the sport again. About two weeks before the season started, I got a phone call from the soccer association asking if I was interested in coaching Gavinís team. Obviously, I must not have completely thought this through as I quickly agreed to volunteering my time, taking the step from soccer mom to soccer coach.
Honestly, volunteering my time was not an issue at all. Although, we, like most people, live busy lives, I figured I had to bring Gavin to soccer and it wouldnít be much extra work to stand on the field and coach. Plus, if I were on the field playing soccer with the kids, Gavin wouldnít be able to find my lap for comfort on the sidelines.
My plan actually worked out quite well. For the first few weeks, Gavin has been excited to go to soccer and is doing much better than last season. The part that I didnít thoroughly think through when I agreed to taking on this gig was that coaching soccer isnít just about my own chaotic little five-year-old Ė itís that, times 10.
I have to give these kids credit. Some days, they are amazing little listeners, eager to learn. But just like any four- to six-year-olds, they have their moments, and a couple weeks ago, nearly all of them showed up with the same uncooperative attitude.
Like I said, the weather wasnít ideal, and it certainly added to the chaos. I could give the same simple directions five times, but to no avail. In the end, I resorted to letting them play a simple game similar to tag, but while dribbling the ball, which passed the time quickly.
When we played against another team near the end of practice, the kids were all over the place, crossing other teamsí fields, all the while with determined little looks on their faces. In a couple weeks, these mini-Beckhams will take part in their first and only tournament of the season in Bonnyville. For many of these kids, it will be their first tournament ever.
I donít think this chaos-filled practice helped the kids prepare themselves for this upcoming tournament in any way, but I do think it helped me prepare myself for what might take place, which is probably equally important.
Regardless of the outcome, I am happy I decided to coach this little team. It is fulfilling to see the smiles on the kidsí faces and pride as they score their first goal against an opposing team and itís most fulfilling to see my own son enjoying a sport that I loved playing as a youngster too.
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