This fall Ben was in a free soccer league for 4-7 year olds. At first I was a little hesitant because the program is a feeder for a select soccer team, which is a big time and money commitment. I'm so not ready to spend every weekend chauffeuring my kids to soccer tournaments in neighboring states. However, Ben likes soccer and, as I said, it was free so we signed him up.
They had practices on Friday nights and games on Sunday nights. The first week didn't go so well. At the first practice we neglected to bring Ben's ball, so he had to share with another kid, which he did not appreciate. Lots of crying was involved. At the game that Sunday his team was severely outmatched and again, lots of crying was involved. Specifically, every time the other team scored a goal. I felt so bad for him because I could tell what he was feeling. His perfectionism was kicking in and he knew he was supposed to keep them from scoring, but he couldn't. So he was getting very mad.
Luckily things went better from then on. No more crying. He was always excited to go to soccer and he was pretty enthusiastic about running after the ball, but at times he would wander and become that kid who's picking grass while everyone else is running like crazy. He really succumbed to that during the last game. Instead of their normal 4 v 4 game they did a 7 v 7, so it was like a pack of vultures on a carcass. The ball was almost always encased by 10-12 kids and being one of the younger and least skilled kids, Ben just couldn't really get in there. So he lost focus and started daydreaming or talking to another kid who was hanging back. Honestly, as a completely un-sporty person myself (unless you count marching band) I was actually kind of happy to see Ben not utterly mesmerized by the need to kick a ball into a net. Eventually the coach put him in goal, which I thought was a bad idea because it would allow him to daydream even more. I was right because when the vultures came careening down the field he was looking the other way. A kid kicked it toward the goal and...
...it hit Ben right in the chest, stopping the goal. He wasn't even paying attention, but he kept them from scoring. It was a very Luna Lovegood moment. Awesome.
Overall it was a positive experience, though I don't think Ben's soccer skills have improved much. He had fun, though. He's played soccer more, but I actually think his athletic skill is going to lie in baseball. He's been scarily accurate throwing a ball since he was two. Our neighbors actually commented on it, just watching from across the street. I guess we should sign him up for t-ball this spring.