Friday, May 1, 2015

A Day I Didn't See Coming...

From the time Jacob could walk, he was constantly walking around with some sort of sports equipment.  Be it a bat, a hockey stick, a lacrosse stick, or a ball, it was almost rare to see him without one.  He loved sports and talked about them constantly.  It was really his only interest, right up until he spent a long weekend with his cousins at age 3 and came back obsessed with superheroes.  Even then sports was still a pretty strong #1, with superheroes coming in somewhere behind that.

Superheroes have since gone by the wayside and his interests have changed a bit, but sports is still a solid first.  He changes his sport of choice all the time, depending on the season and whatever he has available.  Whether it's an iPad game, a Wii game, something on TV, something he read about or looked up online, or whatever sport is in season, he will change his current sport of choice to match his current interest.  He loves it all, right down to rugby, something called futsal, and whatever else he happens to come upon.  He's tested out almost every free sports app in the Apple store that works on a 1st generation iPad, and enjoys his Wii Sports.  He loves basketball and hockey in the driveway, soccer in the grass, and lacrosse wherever he can play it.  Heck, he's even getting more into his bike riding.  We're still working on a few finer points of pedaling and steering, but he's getting much better...finally!

Anyway, this was Jacob's second year playing lacrosse.  He plays a couple seasons in the late fall and throughout the winter.  Technically they're playing field lacrosse (minus the long sticks) but it looks like box lacrosse since they're playing indoors with dasherboards.  In April a third season starts and things transition outside.  Last year I swore we would never do the outdoor spring season again.  Not only is the weather a challenge, but starting in May it conflicted with baseball and made our weekday evenings and our Saturdays a disaster.  We had late nights where Jacob had no time to do homework or play, and life in general was challenging for all of us.  The only reason I consented to it last year was because Jacob's team didn't play during a Knighthawks halftime until the spring season, and I knew how badly he wanted to do that.  But this year I was dead set on focusing on baseball and picking up lacrosse again in the fall. 

Well...I somehow got outvoted.  I think Craig wanted Jacob to continue because he was making progress.  He didn't want to cut him off just as he was starting to improve.  And indeed, his catching has gotten better, he practices his trick shots a lot, and he's actually scoring goals in practice.  BUT...our first game is tomorrow and the season is already a disaster. 

Suddenly Jacob doesn't want to play anymore.  Well, he does, but he doesn't really want to put in the effort.  He says he's not really having fun, and to some degree I get that.  He's never really loved practices, and that's all they've had so far.  They also lengthened them to 90 minutes twice a week, and that's a lot for a bunch of 6, 7, and 8-year-olds.  The weather has been so-so, and I know Jacob is still not thrilled with his teammates' tendencies to only pass the ball among a select few.  I think that last problem will work itself out as the best and oldest players transition to the next age group and Jacob becomes one of the better players, but in the interim, I understand his frustration. 

He's also been complaining of leg pain lately during practice.  We're not sure what to make of it.  Craig actually took Jacob to the doctor on Tuesday (instead of practice) to get it checked out.  The doctor didn't find anything, but suggested he should hydrate more.  It could just be that his legs aren't used to that kind of a workout and they're just plain tired.  All we know is that the pains only seem to happen at practice, and right after he's fine.  This has only been since the outdoor season started, and almost every practice so far he's had that or another issue.  Once he had to pee and it was so close to the end of practice that they left.  Once he wasn't feeling well and quit early.  The day I had him he complained most of the time but made it to the end.  He missed because of his doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and then last night he cried half the time.  I just never thought I'd see the day where Jacob didn't want to play a real sport, and I'm at a bit of a loss.

We've talked about pulling him out, especially with baseball starting tomorrow as well, but we'd lose our money.  Apparently a set of twins already quit, so they're a bit short on players and aren't in a position to do anyone any favors (like keeping our payment until the fall).  So, at this point I guess baseball is just going to take priority.  The sports overlap a lot so anytime there's baseball, that will probably get the green light.  If there isn't, we're going to push through with lacrosse.  I'm hoping that the start of real games will help, and we've also talked about him playing goalie.  He's wanted to try it for a while, and if it minimizes the leg issues and distracts him a bit, maybe that will get us through. 

There's so much about this situation that bothers me as a parent.  On one side, you hate to see your kid miserable.  Two sports is a lot for all of us and he's clearly not enjoying lacrosse right now.  But on the other hand, you don't want to let your kid quit without valid reasons.  There's something to be said for making a commitment and seeing it through.  He wanted to play, and now he needs to make good on that.  His team is counting on him (whether they pass to him or not), and I don't like to see him dogging it out there.  I don't want his coach to get the impression that he's lazy or a quitter, because ultimately I don't think he really is.  I think this is more of a mental thing than a physical thing, though the leg thing may be legit, to some degree.  It's just hard to know where to draw the line between logic and tough love.  Sports should be fun, but life lessons are important, too.

As if that wasn't enough, he's had a mystery rash for a week or so that's been itching him like crazy.  At first it just looked like dry, irritated skin, but last night it looked pretty ugly--like closer to hives than I'd like.  It's on his torso and a bit on his arms and legs, and his scalp was so dry and itchy that when I discovered it I made him shower and use dandruff shampoo.  The doctor tested him for strep throat on Tuesday because of it, but it was negative.  Nothing has changed in his diet or environment (no new soaps or foods), so I have no idea what is happening.  I had been rubbing hydrocortisone on it, but he insists that makes it worse, so last night we gave him Benadryl and it did seem to calm it down.  I may be calling the doctor again this weekend to see if they have any thoughts on what else might be causing it.  Pollen is out like crazy right now but with him already on regular allergy meds, I'm not sure why that wouldn't be enough.  I keep wondering if his Celiac has anything to do with it--being that it's an auto-immune thing--but I haven't quite made the connection yet.

Oh, and Craig's on the road this weekend (on a trip I really wanted to be on, no less), and with an early morning, two sports, and probably no nap for Carter tomorrow, and a First Communion party in Buffalo on Sunday, we've got quite the couple days ahead.  Prayers accepted :)

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