Friday, September 12, 2008

The Dizzying Arary of Emotions of a Soccer Mom

We have begun our first soccer season , here in the AMAWG house. We're a little late getting started apparently, as the girls on the team my girls play on have played together for at least four seasons. Buddy's team is younger, just a couple of seasons under their belts. His inexperience is not nearly as evident.

I had no idea that soccer would be so emotional for me. And I'm not an emotional person usually. As I said, my girls are on a team that has been playing together for a while. IndieGirl is playing up, so she is a full year younger than these girls. Of course, she doesn't really know that or care about it. But I do. And my Princess, well, she just does not have an aggressive bone in her body apparently. Both girls were eager to take a break from dance and give sports a try.

Soccer was the logical first sport, since this is fall. We signed them up and talked up the idea of being on a team and all that jazz. We got cleats and shinguards and socks. We kicked the ball around in the backyard. Then the coach called. My girls were new to the game, so she wanted to have them out for a special practice--just the coach and the two girls. I was very pleased with this, because the coach wanted to make sure they were comfortable. All went well at that first practice. We had to wait two weeks for the next practice because of rain. That first team practice was interesting, to say the least. My girls did their best and followed directions. Sometimes they were a little slow to pick something up, or to respond to the coach. I could tell it was going to be a struggle for me to not lose my patience with them. I had to remind myself that I was not the coach and the girls needed me to just be Mom. Further practices continued to show the difference between a first season player and an experienced player.

Where is all the emotion in this? Well, we had our first game too. Both girls took a turn in goal, which was moderately successful. They stopped most of the balls that came their way. Unfortunately, we started the game with Princess almost scoring an own-goal. Oops! So we're watching them play the game. We are full of pride because they are out there, at least. There are no tears. They are on the field with good attitudes. However, they are behind the action a lot of the time. They don't go to the ball. I want them to get in the game. We paid for this! But wait, I just want them to have fun. I don't want them to be discouraged or have their feelings hurt. Princess is a sensitive girl. Her coach can be rather stern, but not mean. Still, I can see Princess getting upset. I don't want that to happen. Also, IndieGirl seems to be picking the game up more quickly, and the coach has noticed. I definitely don't want comparisons, although that is probably inevitable when they are on the same team. I want this experience to be fun. But I don't want her to be miserable. We made a commitment to the team and we will keep it.

It could be a long ten weeks.
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  1. I think this disparity between the experienced players and your new-to-the-game girls is the reason sport has gotten so out of hand and starting earlier and earlier.

    I remember entering 9th grade and finally being able to try out for a field hockey team. The one for my high school. This was the very first time I had ever heard of a team I could play on but I had no idea.

    Most of the girls trying out had been playing since 6th grade in community youth teams their parents had paid for. I didn't even know these teams had existed.

    Luckily the number of girls trying out for the HS field hockey team was low enough that everyone made it regardless of skill. And my skill was seriously lacking.

    So as a parent I scour local notices dilligently looking for the soonest Princess can start some activity. I don't want her missing out because I didn't get her started as early as the other girls so she never gets to play because she never makes the team.

    So competitive so soon.

    And like you I have to keep reminding myself that I just want her to have fun. I think switching to dance this year will be a nice change.

  2. We have discovered that our kids, for whatever reason, like to do team sports that require individual involvement. They get too pressured in a sport where everyone needs to do something in order to win. I am hoping that they will eventually gravitate toward more team-like "team" sports, but who knows?

    I personally cannot stand the climate of youth sports organizations. In this town you need to be super skilled from the beginning and that ain't gonna happen with my kids. And many others, I'd imagine.

  3. Sounds like they are doing fine. I am not sure when to start Ben on sports but I know he'd like baseball or soccer. Guess I should look into it.

    p.s. hope to finally meet you at Jodie's Sip & See! : )

  4. Aawww. Hang on, your girls will soon catch up. Our oldest daughter didn't start soccer until she was 14, but caught on quickly. By the time she was 18, she was a star player on a travelling team. Now, she coaches. The great thing for your girls is they will be the most improved by the end of the season! And, remember soccer is not for everyone. Love, Shelly mom to 7 kids

  5. Well, whether they end up loving it, hating it, or one of each, they are lucky you're exposing them to the team environment early. Some kinds are joiners and will love the competitive team sports and team atmosphere. I was never a joiner and would rather do something that required only myself to do. But at least this way, with exposure, they will have a chance to discern that for themselves. I think it's great!

  6. Does your town have any Upward Soccer, Basketball or football? It's a Christian-based organization that teaches all the good virtues about team sports and does not allow for the negative stuff that creeps in. The coaches and teammates are all very supportive and they learn scripture and have a great time while they are at it. We're thinking of that for our daughter. There's no benchwarmers because the ultimate goal is not about winning so everyone plays. It's a lot of fun and good exercise with one practice per week and one game per week for 6-8 weeks.


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