So, Today was the very first day of Jake and Ben’s debut in soccer. Well, Jake once took a soccer class at the YMCA, but they merely worked on basics. He was never on a formal team prior to this season. Ben still can’t decipher between a basketball and a soccer ball, but he knows he wants to play. We signed them up to play through the Appleton Parks an Recs. Department.
When we first told the boys we signed them up for soccer, Jake jumped around over joyed and announced that he will be good at goalie. Ben jumped around and “woo-hoo!”-ed with Jake, just as he would about anything else Jake got excited about. But, after the initial burst of excitement, they went back to their video game obsession and seemed to forget about it. Ryan and I would give them casual reminders, but ultimately, we weren’t really sure they understood. Occasionally, we’d ask Ben if he was excited, and he’d say, “Of, course. I can’t wait till I am bigger to play doccer.” We’d reassure him he’d get to play this year, but he didn’t seem convinced.
A week or so ago, Ryan got the call. He was going to be Jake’s assistant coach. Ryan told Jake this news as he headed out to have a meeting with the coach, and Jake was over joyed. Later, Ryan came back and told Jake that his team was the “Wizards”, and they would have navy blue shirts. They would practice every Thursday, and play games on Saturdays. Jake was excited to hear all this, and immediately launched into detail on how he planned to play his strategy as a goalie. We reminded him he’s new, other boys have been playing longer, and he needed to just do what the coach asked him to. Later that night, I tucked Jake into bed and asked him again if he was excited. He said he was, and so we talked a bit about that. I told him I thought he’d look good in Navy Blue. I asked him if remembered the movie the Wizard. He replied,
“Oh, yeah, I remember that one. There was a witch and a monkey and stuff?”
I corrected him that the movie he was thinking of was the “Wizard of Oz”. But, he had seen a movie called “The Wizard” and I think he’d like his team name more if he remembered it. He thought and thought and couldn’t recall, and then I reminded him of a movie about a small boy who runs away from home with his big brother, and they play video gaming contests to get money to survive. Eventually, the little boy wins a grand prize, and he is considered the “Wizard” of video games. (Super Mario Bros 3 release, I believe, in that movie. Great show!) He remembered and then he did, as I expected, get excited about the connection from his love of video game (and related movies) and his new soccer team.
We found out shortly after that day that Benjamin would be playing soccer with Kindergarteners and 1st graders because of his age. He would be practicing at the same park and the same time as Jacob though, despite being in the younger group. Ben was excited, and I think that was the first time that he realized he would get to play. He made a few fearful comments that bullies “might be bigger” [than him] and “punch [him] down”. Later Ryan found out that Ben would have a red shirt, and we (think) that his team name will be Fire. Unfortunately, this revelation meant that Ryan would not be able to help coach both, because it turns out he can only be in one place at one time.
A few days later, Ryan took the boys to Target and purchased a size 3 soccer ball for the boys to take to practice. Now, mind you, we only had a small amount of cash on us, so we could really only afford a single ball. First, both boys wanted different balls. Ben wanted a blue one, but it was a size 4, so we had to talk him out of it. Jake, similarly wanted a bigger ball also because of the design, but he settled for the ball that was the right size. Ben decided that because the ball had blue dots, it was going to be his ball. Ben carried the ball nearly every where we went for a while. Last night, he played in the back yard with me, and worked really hard to get it around me. It was super cute.
Today, we kept our fingers crossed in hopes that the rain would hold off long enough to leave their soccer field in tact long enough to get a first practice in. Luck was on our side, and the boys got to play. I didn’t get to witness it first hand, because I was at work, but I could easily get a sense of how it went when they burst through the door. In complete synchronization, both boys started blurting out how their experience went. It was difficult to understand what either of them were saying over the other, but I did notice Ryan laughing at us out of the corner of my eye. Eventually, I deduced that Jake was very excited, because he played really good defense. (This made me really happy, because I always feel as though I play better defense than offense, also.) Ben was really upset because a boy had knocked him down and… (this is where it gets a bit merky) I think he got hit in a few places and somehow he felt he was very wounded. He debated with Jake because he thought the little boy had done it on purpose, because, “if you don’t feel you’re sorry then you did it on purpose!” Ben was pretty devastated, but I think Jake eventually convinced him that the little boy was just learning and made a mistake. It was a very cute conversation. They were so energetic that it was obvious they both had been having a great time.
So, overall, it sounds as though the 1st day of soccer was a great success!