Saturday, January 12, 2013

Soccer!

And so it begins.  Thursday night was Jacob's long-awaited first foray into organized sports.  A year or so ago I bought a Groupon-type deal for half off of a micro sports program at a sports complex down the road from us.  Their micro programs are a great starter option, and some of them are available for really young kids.  They're short, six-week programs that are helpful for trying out new sports without a lot of commitment.  When we went to Jacob's thanksgiving dinner at daycare, we chatted with the mom of Jacob's buddy Mason, whose dad happens to be a former professional soccer goalie.  We thought it might be fun to sign them up together, and after a month of procrastination, we got him signed up just before the special deal expired.  The six-week program goes until Valentine's Day, so I'm a) hoping that I'm still hanging in there by his last session; and b) already knowing to not expect a romantic Valentine's Day evening.  

Anyway, Jacob had been counting down the days until soccer started, and Thursday was the day!  He was all excited to get his jersey, and we got him (cheap) new cleats last weekend.  Along with the shin guards he's had for a while, he looked like a real soccer player!
All ready!
We weren't quite sure what to expect.  On one hand Jacob was excited, but on the other hand he has a tendency to find ways to ruin fun things.  Would he go into peer pressure/daycare mode when faced with a coach and a bunch of other kids, or would he get sidetracked by his own agenda?  The fact that he'd be with a friend was a bit of a wildcard, too.  Would he just try to hang out with his friend, or would he feel more confident since he already knew someone and wasn't alone?

In the end, he did great.  We couldn't help but laugh at the start because when they were all instructed to huddle up, Mason actually put his hand on Jacob's back and herded him over to the group.  Jacob did his best to follow directions, and surprisingly he was not overly distracted by the presence of a soccer ball and a giant field to run around on.  He had a hard time with some of the drills, but I think that's a good thing because it will give him new things to practice and make him feel like he has a purpose for being there.  To his credit, he did keep trying the tough stuff and did respectably well.

They did some warm-up exercises, then some skill drills, and finished up with a little scrimmage.  In between they had potty/water breaks, which I guess is necessary with a bunch of 4-5 year-olds.  Here he is during a water break...
I tried to get a good picture of him out there, but the lighting wasn't great and usually he was in the middle of a crowd of kids, so this was the best I got...

I did get a little video of the scrimmage, but it's probably hard to tell which one he is most of the time...
Too bad he couldn't quite take advantage of that breakaway!  Still, he did a good job and was much better than I expected at playing with other kids after years of playing either by himself or with one of us.  All in all, it was a good night.  He's already talking about next week and bemoaning the fact that he's only got five more weeks to go!

We'll see how this one goes before deciding whether to sign him up for something else.  Obviously things are going to get busy in the next couple months, so we might have to take a little break and then find something else in the spring to fill time before baseball starts in July.  I'm just not sure when I'll be comfortable taking him places with the baby--both because I don't want the baby out in public much early on (flu season is scary enough without a baby) and because readjusting to a baby's schedule is going to be a challenge.  Craig's going to be busy with lacrosse season, too, so we need to consider that as well.  As I waited for the boys to arrive the other night, I looked around at dozens of other kids (mostly lacrosse players) that filled the facility and couldn't help but think to myself, "This is going to be my life."  With two boys, it's probably unavoidable.  I'm not sure I'm ready for it, but at least we can start slow.

At least for one night, our entrance into the world of organized sports went well.  Let's hope it continues and it's the start of a long, successful run...and fun for all of us!

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