Don’t you hate it when you follow a blog that periodically includes some profound thoughts, and you keep thinking that the next post will be some new profound thoughts, but it just ends up being a family slide show?
Yeah, that’s the worst.
So shortly after we moved here, the church where we go to Classical Conversations advertised that they would be doing Upward Soccer in the fall. None of our children had played soccer before, nor had we participated in the Upward program before. But one thing I quickly learned about homeschooling is I have to outsource PE for it to happen, and nobody was opposed to giving it a try, so we entered the world of soccer for the first time.
It will probably give you a pretty good grasp of each child’s personality to hear how he/she handled the sport.
Before Ava stepped onto the soccer field, she had checked out several books about soccer from the library and knew all the vocabulary. (Did you know that the word soccer was derived from Associated Football, which is what soccer was first called in America to differentiate it from, well, FOOTball football? You probably did know that, but I didn’t until my 10 year old educated me.) So, of course, her coach was a little surprised that she hadn’t played before since she seemed to know her stuff.
Needless to say, Ava seemed to fall into a position of leadership pretty quickly, and this was a common dialogue for me to hear during a game:
Coach: It’s a blue corner kick.
Ava (not disrespectfully): No, it’s a green goal kick. So-and-so kicked it out.
Coach: Oh. It’s a green goal kick.
Although she has the most athletic prowess in our family, we did notice that Ava didn’t play as aggressively during games as we expected. We think that it was because the teams are age based, which meant that Ava was a giant compared to some of the teams they played. Although she’ll deny it, we think she was subconsciously trying to not squash the little people. Which we appreciate.
Israel was on the same team as Ava. He was the one I was most worried about not enjoying the sport. He is our introspective child that I have to drag away from the Legos. I was pleasantly surprised that he seemed to enjoy himself, and I don’t think I ever saw him and his sister bicker about soccer.
But he definitely did not have as high of an energy level. The first game was the worst. We only had 3 players show up, which meant they had to play the whole game without breaks. The child on the team that is not mine is hypoglycemic, which means that she runs out of energy fast. By the second half, both Israel and this little girl were just walking around the field, leaving Ava to fend for herself. It was a proud parenting moment.
I am happy to say that A) Their team got more players so that they could have breaks, and B) I did notice Israel show more dexterity at the end of the season than at the beginning.
Israel was also very intent on letting people know when the ball was out of bounds. So maybe he has a future in the refereeing department.
Egan was the child that I felt needed soccer the most as he NEVER STOPS RUNNING. I was expecting him to really excel since soccer is all about the running. What I didn’t anticipate was the need for an attention span. He pretty much only got close to the ball when it was an accident. He would be standing looking at something else while everyone was chasing the ball. The ball would roll by him. He would start trotting after it, like, “Oh look, something new!” And that, of course, is when I would take the picture.
We were also surprised at how hesitant he was about kicking the ball when he accidentally got near it. In his every day life, he is extremely compulsive. His policy is to hit/jump/kick/leap/throw/climb first, think about it later. Why he had trouble doing that when it was expected, we’re not sure.
Oh, I guess I just answered my own question. It was expected.
I still think soccer would be a good sport for Egan. I think he will benefit from a year of growth and maturity.
But I’m not expecting anything, just for the record.
As far as being the soccer mom, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this experience. I had never really watched soccer on television or in person, but it is actually a fun game to watch. Although we are lovers of baseball always and forever, I like how the kids get to keep moving in soccer. Baseball is A LOT of not moving!
I really appreciated the Upward model because it gave our kids a chance to try a sport in a non-competitive atmosphere. Because the focus was not winning, the kids got equal playing time. The schedule was predictable, which was helpful for this mama who doesn’t care for surprise practices BECAUSE FOUR KIDS.
And Arrow got to eat a snow cone and follow it up by playing in the dirt. So, you know, every child is a winner.