Monday, September 19, 2011


So after a year of Doug and I asking Deacon if he wanted to play soccer, he finally said yes!  I was super excited that he wanted to try my favorite sport. Plus, fall is not fall unless you get to watch or play a soccer game. Some people have memories of huddling under blankets watching football under the Friday night lights, but I hold all of my fall memories on the pitch. Nothing beats stepping out onto the field with a chill in the air, sweet dew sticking to your cleats and the sound the soccer ball makes as it races across the field. Deacon, should he want to continue playing, will hopefully experience many happy memories with such an amazing sport like I do :)

Deacon is playing through NKYA, an awesome, volunteer driven organization that strives to teach kids to love the game, learn the basics and have fun.  The organization hosts teams from U4 to U18 and every game is at the same park between the hours of 9 and 12 (Thank you!!!!)

So a typical Saturday during the soccer season involves Deacon getting decked out in his mini soccer gear:
shirt, shorts, cute little cleats and shin guards (why does he have to look that stinkin' adorable in his uniform?!) Then he has to have a yogurt to make his body strong (Did I mention that this kid is so persuasive he could sell an Eskimo an ice cube?) and off we go in my soccer mom wagon to the field.

Doug has to work Saturdays so it is just me and the kiddos--which is a sport in of itself! We fight for a parking spot, then I have to juggle getting the stroller out for Cohen, the soccer bag for Deacon, the diaper bag for Cohen, a chair for me, etc. etc. that's before the kids are even out of the car!!!  Next I have to give Deacon specific instructions on getting out of the car and standing right by me while I get Cohen.  I nestle Cohen's pumpkin seat in the stroller and what feels like we've been preparing for the decent down the hill for an hour, we finally make some headway.

Deacon grabs his water bottle and heads to the field to get a quick practice in with his team before the game. This is when I get to sit and watch :)

Not only do I get to watch my little soccer star, but the parents, and the droves of kids, tumbling down the hill to their game.  It is like a battle field of Saturday tradition.  Moms, dad's, grandparents and whoever is crazy enough to come to a game will pile on the junk to trek down the hill to their final destination.  Mom's fumbling with their camping seats, coolers, snacks for after the game, camera, video camera, themed t-shirts with their kids names on it; no doubt did they earn the "soccer mom" title.  The kids racing down the hill to the fields while the mom or dad or whoever else screams, "you're going to fa...." too late.  little Jack fell down, skinned his knee, which threatens his ability to play the game.  After a short pep talk, little Jack is ready to play.

I hear the whistle of the ref so I turn my head away from the train wreck of families colliding down the hillside, and focus on my sweet little boy as he gets ready to kick off.

The best part about U6 soccer is the sheer cluelessness most of the children have for the sport. It is entertaining to watch the litter of kids run with the ball. At that age the mere object of the game is to get the ball.  That means even if your team mate has the ball YOU have to get it.  There is no passing, no shooting, no strategic thought--in fact, it is a major cluster--but good glory it is hilarious! Some kids sit and pick at the grass, others try to get in the game and then there are those children (mine included) who anticipate the game so much that they tug on the pants leg of their poor, unsuspecting coach ask them when they get to play or kick or throw the ball. My son's coach deserves the medal of honor for his patience (and bravery), the kids really enjoy him!

There is one position that kids DO NOT want to play: goalie. They'd rather be in the action and kicking the ball (remember they are 4 and 5, the word team doesn't exist with them yet--and as a goalie, you have to think of your team).  Anyway, my son begs to play goalie.  I'm not kidding. One game, the coach gave in and let him be the keeper. My heart stopped and my stomach was in my throat. Why? well, I played goalie, as did my brother--and I guess I inserted my fears, anxiety and excitement into what I thought Deacon might have been feeling but quickly realized that his desire to be goalie wasn't to catch the ball, but to play with the soccer net.  Oh geesh!  "Deacon, keep an eye on the ball, be ready" I yelled.  Then my brain told me to pull back the crazy.  So I just sat silenced, stomach in throat, hoping to God he'd catch the ball if it came his way.  A kid came barreling down the field (Can a 5 year old barrel?!  I don't know but it makes for a dramatic effect to the story!) and tapped the ball towards the goal.  I shut my eyes, wincing, the opened. And to my surprise, Deacon caught the ball!  He threw it to the right player and the game continued.  I was relieved!  2 minutes later, his luck ran out because the team scored on him.  I quickly said, "it's okay bud, thumbs up!" He smiled and gave me a thumbs up--still as proud as we was when he caught the ball!  The coach somberly walked to him and asked if he wanted a break.  Deacon shook his head no and told the coach, "I still want to play goalie!!!" So, he let him!  It was so sweet!

Within a couple minutes, the game was over--the snacks were passed out, the drinks were grabbed up by the kids, the gear was packed and we headed for home.  Just like that--as quick as we trekked down the hill, we climbed the hill to go home.  Saturday ritual was over for the day and so the day continued like any other Saturday.  I left the goals scored (from both teams) on that field, it didn't matter who won because all I cared about was that my son had a blast. I left the critique there to.  Deacon doesn't need to know how he could have been better--because as far as I'm concerned--he played like a real pro (for a 4-year old!) But there was one thing I did take: the memories, the smiles, laughs and the pride that my son had for playing a sport. I will remember these soccer Saturday's for the rest of my life and I only hope that we have many more soccer Saturday's to come. I hope that Deacon can continue to learn, grow and excel in the sport--if he chooses to do so, but most importantly, I just want him to have fun!

As I drove away from the field, I looked back at Deacon and he asked, "Mommy, aren't you so proud of me?!" and I said, "You have no idea how proud I am of you!" He flashed the biggest, yet sheepish smile I've ever seen.

I hope he does know how proud I am of him.  I hope he also knows, what great lessons he teaches me, even at his young age. Life isn't about being perfect or keeping score--it's about having fun, letting go, and being in the moment.

1 comment:

  1. He is too freaking cute in that uniform! Love it! I'm fairly certain that both Adam and Kylie played at that same soccer field... My parents never pushed me into soccer when I was young, but my brother and sister played for years. There is nothing sweeter (or funnier) than watching little kids play soccer. You're so right- they're all looking out for themselves at that point. Congratulations to Deacon for his big save! Looks like he's having tons of fun. I'm so glad you get to share your love of soccer with him.