game day

“But I don’t want to go to soccer, I’m tired”
says the boy who has been running circles around the living room for the last hour.

“No, I don’t want to wear my jersey”
says the same boy that slept in his uniform just last week.

And so I do what any good mom would do, which is start bribing my kid.
I promise him ring pops or pizza or new toys for having a good attitude, listening to his coach and trying his best.
But those things are not quite enough to make him eagerly lace up his cleats.

Owen actually loves soccer practice.
And is one of the best dribblers on the teams.
And he loves kicking the ball around the living room and in the front yard.
But games days are hell.
Instead of being a proud momma on the sideline snapping pictures
I am usually trying not to cry.
Because Owen has realized that he isn’t really good at it.
That the other kids are bigger and faster and score more goals.

And today his team won. And they haven’t won many games.
And they cheered and lined up eagerly for patches and snacks and high-fives.
But we will still drove home with a heaviness in our chest.
Even Owen crunching on his ring pop wasn’t really up for celebrating.
He kept asking to try a different sport.
One that maybe he’d be better at.

And I am more than happy to let him try something new.
But I think it is important that we finish out the season..
(and today was this was the first game….it could be a really long spring!)
And I’m not so sure that trying something new will solve the problem.

And I’m ok that my son isn’t the star.
I’m ok if he wants to play t-ball instead of soccer or the piano or ice dancing.
(ok maybe not ice dancing)
But I’m not ok with seeing him heartbroken.
Because this 4 year old has just realized that trying your best isn’t always enough.
That someone has to be the worst.
And that is a lesson that I was really hoping he wouldn’t learn for a good long while.

So in the meantime
I will keep buying lots of ring pops and cheering and smiling and hoping he learns a bigger lesson between now and the end of the season.
That there is always someone out there who will be better at it.
Cuter, smarter, richer, faster, stronger.
But not for a second should we let them steal our joy.
(or the ball).


samskat said...

That is a hard lesson to learn. Poor kiddo.

Corinne said...

I feel for you both. I hated sports, and rarely finished a season of anything I tried, but wish I had been pushed to - instead of finding the easy way out.
Either way it's a very tough thing to learn about. Hugs to you, mama.

Ann Kroeker said...

This is so true. It's true with writing, too, whether writing books or blogs...there's always somebody funnier, more savvy or clever.

But I keep writing anyway. I try to celebrate the funny, savvy, clever bloggers, letting them inspire me and urge me to work harder at the thing I love to do.

Deb said...

Aaaawww. I love this. By encouraging him to keep going and persevere, you are teaching him that it is OK to do your best and not have to BE the best. Poor little guy...
BTW...I really like your blog. Glad I found you on Higher Calling blogs... I am also a teacher and even though I am sort of a grammar nazi, I think I'll just have to follow you. :)