90 minutes

Yesterday Owen had his first official soccer game.
We have had practices and a soccer tots class, but this was the first REAL game. With jerseys and refs and long socks that go up to his thigh.

So Saturday morning I packed up snacks and drinks and the camera and headed over to the U5 fields. The ones that are smaller than my living room.

After circling a parking lot full of minivans and suburbans for 20 minutes, I finally found a space and unloaded Tess. I pushed Tess's stroller at top speed to the assigned field ( where O's game was already underway). As I rolled passed some of the bigger kids fields, I started thinking this was the first of many many mornings I would here. I usually try to shrug the soccer mom image, but I actually like the soccer part. I soaked in the smell of the freshly cut grass, the chalk lines, sunshine, whistles and the orange slices. I wondered how many goals my sweet little boy would score today.

I finally approached O's field ( and yes, I missed the entire first quarter) and immediately spotted my shaggy haired guy on the field. His yellow jersey swallowed him and my mommy heart swelled with pride.

And then I got closer, and realized that the rest of his team was further down the field actually playing soccer, while my son stood at the other end kicking at the grass. Oblivious to the goal scoring going on at the other end.
He is a star at practice. Kicking and dribbling and heading the ball even after the drills are over. However, he is apparently not a fan of the actual "game" part. He wants no part in the huddle of kids all kicking and runnig after one ball. He would much rather weave in and out of cones without a mass of kids or a ref blowing a whistle on his tail.

My emotions are the sidelines were confusing. Part of me was disappointed and slightly embarrassed at my kid not pulling his weight. Not trying. So I did what any good mom would do, and resulted to bribery. I promised candy and toys if he would just run and kick the ball with everyone else. And he would for a second, until someone else tried to kick it away from him and then he would stand off to the side and look for bugs in the grass.

I was kind of sad that my kid wasn't the soccer star I had imagined. Not only was he not as good as some of the other kids, but he didn't even seem to want to be there. Reconciling my hopes and aspirations for him .... for his own is a bit more challenging than I thought it would be. And lets get real. This was just kiddie soccer. Not even important stuff. I need to be ready to love and cheer on whatever he wants to do, not necessarily what I want him to do. Even if I don't like it. Even if he isn't the star.

I wonder if my God ever watches me from the sidelines. Playing my own game miserably, rather than the one I was designed to. Hoping and longing that I will start lining up my passions with His.


Margie said...

We chose not to do soccer this year, the main reason being that Elizabeth socialized more than she played. While funny, free Saturday mornings were more desireable than seeing her chat with a friend about Dora the Explorer as the ball, and the mass of kids chasing it, passed her by.

I like your concluding paragraph. Meaty.