it's not that he didn't keep trying, but he was hesitant when he got close to the ball. his step slowed down the closer he got to the action and he was teary-eyed between periods, telling JR he was nervous. but he played through it and managed to nudge the ball around a couple of times. but clearly, this was not as great a game as last week.
the opposing team (we'll call them TT) was good, and they scored more goals, but something seemed amiss with one of their players. i have to admit i may be biased because we were playing against them, but this kid was playing kinda dirty. our team has younger, and therefore, smaller kids. that also means they're not as good, coordinated or skilled. but we have one player, #8, who has great foot work, kicking ability, and knowledge of the game (for someone his age). #8 had the ball when the TT player kicked him in the shin and tripped him, hard. from our standpoint it totally looked intentional but nothing was done. later in the game, something similar happened. neither the TT coach nor the referee said anything to the kid. but the TT coach was pretty vocal about strategy and telling his players where to be and what to do. it was like good sportsmanship and enjoying the game wasn't as important as getting the ball and scoring. now, i could totally be wrong -- maybe it was an accident, or maybe the coach had words with the kid. i honestly don't know. and, you'd hope that a 6-year-old wasn't being taught that it was okay to play rough and trip opponents. all i can say is that something about today's game made me a bit disillusioned. (it also didn't help that both my parents and my mil were in the background making silly comments through the entire game!)
JR was kinda pissed off about it and when we got home he said, "i hope i don't turn into one of those intense parents." but if there's poor sportsmanship and unnecessary roughness (especially at this young age), i don't think it's "intense" or going overboard to be concerned. i really believe that parents and adults are responsible for guiding children to understand what the point of the game is. if all that's going to be emphasized is winning at any cost, then i know what my position will be when next season starts.
the boy's final comments on today's game: "part way through the game i just wished we had halftime ten times!"
edited at 8:16pm: after the boy woke up from his nap we asked him how he felt about the game. he didn't seem overly phased by what happened and said it was a pretty good game. i guess my kid is more resilient than his over-protective mama ... and a good nap can fix almost anything!
edited the next day: the more i think about it, the more upset i am about those boys snickering at my son. i was so close to scolding them right then and there but i needed to make sure the boy was okay. what bothers me more is that the boy heard their laughing too because he later told JR the other team was teasing him. when i heard that, it really tugged at my heart and i wished there was something i could say or do to make those kids apologize. and it makes me so sad to see little kids with no empathy. JR must've still been thinking about it too because, this morning in bed, he said the TT team is kinda like the mean, bad team in all sports movies. i feel kinda bad talking about little 6-year-olds like this, but it's so natural to go into defensive mode when you know your kid has been hurt. such is the life of a parent.