Astute readers of my last post chronicling a day of arguments with my daughter may have noticed a gap, nothing documented between 3:25 and 6:00 PM. If that was you I’ll commend your attention to detail but caution you not to assume that meant a break, a few hours passed without having somebody contradict every word that I uttered. She remained just as contrary, the difference during this time was that I actually agreed with her.
For the past three years Alaina has been involved in something called “mini-kickers,” and introduction to soccer that she enjoyed immensely. She learned some basic dribbling skills, was taught not to pick the ball up with her hands, and provided us with some really adorable pictures.
What she didn’t do is learn a whole lot about the actual game of soccer. This is completely understandable, throwing a single ball into a group of children that age an invitation to nothing but tears for all involved, but has made for a slightly shaky start to her promotion to “big girl soccer.”
Big Girl Soccer, the U8 league, has rules. It has positions, two nights a week of practice, games against other towns on Saturday afternoons and a no-nonsense coach that actually understands the game. HasCon caused us to start a week late, dance lessons conflict with Friday practice and rain has led to cancellations on Wednesday nights. It’s made catching up challenging.
This past Wednesday was one of those rainy cancellations. When told of this Alaina naturally disagreed, stating that she needed the practice and that it really wasn’t raining very hard.
So we went, spending a wet hour alone at the field. We spent some time on drills, more time on positional responsibilities and learning the actual rules of the game, basics that in retrospect I should have been more proactive about teaching.
It’s still a work in progress. Today was another game, her second, and it was a frustrating hour for our side, a lopsided loss. Alaina played hard and showed a better grasp of what was expected of her but still confided afterward that doesn’t know what she is supposed to be doing most of the time.
It was a surprising admission, a humbleness that she doesn’t often display and a sign of maturity that I didn’t expect.
She had fun and was outside getting exercise, the two main goals of youth sports, but I also like the other lessons that she learns. Lessons about teamwork and the importance of working hard in order to improve. Her competitiveness can be a bit much sometimes but I love this kid’s tenacity, her willingness to practice in the rain, her effort. She may not always be running in the correct direction, but she’s running hard.