First practice was great and incredibly cute to watch. A bunch of 3 1/2 to 4-year-olds navigating around the soccer field is enough to make anyone smile. The kids all got along great, our coach is pretty darn amazing and they all left happy and smiling. Then the first game happened. Oh my, it was not a good introduction to soccer for quite a few kids on the team. It was horrible weather, yes, I know that soccer is played no matter what the weather but for kids that young it was not good. It was cold, rainy, cold, occasional hail, cold, windy, cold and muddy. Did I mention it was cold? Even bundled up, all of the kids were downright miserable. The coach did a decent job distracting them and getting them into the game but once the orange team started to dominate our red team it was all downhill from there. I had a freezing, wet kid that just wanted to go home. So not only was I dealing with the weather and the orange team winning (we don't keep score but the kids know darn well which team is scoring more goals), it was then that Oliver's competitive nature really kicked in. He was certain that because he couldn't stop the orange team that the coach wouldn't want him to play again, that he wouldn't be getting a trophy and not allowed to play soccer ever again. The kid was a wreck! Just so you know, I don't know where all of these ideas come from. The goal, which I told Oliver, of this team is that by the end of the season they are moving as a herd with the ball no matter which direction it's headed. If either team scores, it's a good thing! By the end of game 1, my boy never wanted to play soccer again and even asked me to return his ball and shoes to the store. He did want to keep the shin guards in case brother decided to kick him though. We had another practice Friday and game 2 was yesterday, saving that for another post.
That's our coach, Rick, explaining to Oliver at practice what to do next. Coach has an extensive soccer career and has coached all of his kids teams. Hallie, his daughter, is on Oliver's team. That is Jacob, Rick's son, in the background, he helps out at practices.
Here we have Oliver before Game 1 even started. T-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, team t-shirt and vest. I should have put more on his legs but failed to do so. This blanket got a lot of use that day.
This is a bit into the game, tears were flowing by now and the requests to go home were plenty. He did stick it out and tried his best not to cry but he was obviously not happy.
End of the game, mud speckled face, wrapped in blanket, certain that he does not want to play again, and even if he did want to play again, he was sure that the coach and team would not want him back. Part of me was heart broken and the other part, very frustrated. A hot bath and some lunch at home, a good amount of snuggling and cuddling with a pep talk from mom and he was willing to give soccer another try. Game 2 pictures will be posted later this week. Just to alleviate potential worry, the coach loves Oliver. He sees natural talent and drive and hopes he sticks with soccer. He is constantly telling Oliver how good he is doing and how proud he is of him. He is a great coach.