Sunday, March 30, 2008

I like to kick it

Hope started soccer yesterday. My friend calls this four year old version of soccer “huddle ball”. They don’t quite know what they are doing and everyone just kind of huddles around the ball and tries to kick it. This is true for sure. We didn’t really get that far into a game though. It was our first day so most of it was spent learning some technique and learning how to listen to the coach.

I was a bit worried about Hope because she is kind of a mixed bag. Hope has this amazing sense of independence mixed with a determinedly emotional personality. It is a perfect mix of Loren and I. Basically, this means that she wants to be able to do something right the first time and be the best at it, and if she can’t, she cries. (It actually means a lot of other things but that is what it means as it relates to soccer. ) As troublesome as that sounds, it's one of the things I love about Hope. She is fiercely competitive and determined, but she is tenderhearted. Even though I love this about her, I am pretty aware that, at this stage in her life, it is almost always a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s face it. At four you are constantly learning new things and, chances are, you aren’t gonna be good at all of them. She cries a lot. It has been a challenge for me to learn how to respond in a way that encourages her to keep trying instead of how I automatically respond in my brain which goes something like, “I can’t believe she is crying about this!” I knew that soccer was bound to test my limits!

So, before the fiery trials of yesterday’s game I called my friend, Amy, for support. She is so good at reminding me of what I already know and at obliterating that deep dark place in me that is terrified that I am the worst mother. She told me that she knew I would respond well and she reminded me to tell Hope about the most important rule in soccer… have fun!

So, we went and Hope jumped right in. She listened well and practiced all the techniques and loved it. She did cry twice, briefly, but then she got right back out there. (It turns out that she loves the practice part, where everyone gets a ball, but not so much the game part where there is only one ball and all those kids. My favorite quote from her happened when she came over after the game part, a little teary, and said, “There is no ball and I am just running and running around and I am tiiiiiirrrrrreeeeed!”) The best part is that, when it was over, the coach said, “who had fun?!?” and she raised her hand and smiled. Then she came running over with her juice and her snack smiling all the way. I told her how proud I was of her and asked her if she liked soccer and if she had fun. She said yes to both.

I had fun too, watching her watch the coach, watching her listen to instructions and then trying to do what they said, watching her stand in line and wait her turn, watching her volunteer to sit out for a while:), watching her whisper and link arms with her buddy, Caden. I watched her all swallowed up in her orange team jersey and thought, “when did she get so big?”


Ashley Beth said...

I'm so glad she had a good time! I know you were worried about it.

You're a great mom! I hope one day I will be as patient and understanding as you.

Melodie said...

when did she get so big?!! amazing! how fun, glad she is giving soccer a try! i'm trying to think of a sport where everyone gets a ball . . . bowling maybe? not much of a sport though. :)

The Coopers said...

Yea Hopie, glad you had so much fun at soccer. What a cutie!
Love you!