this week in soccer

the boy had his second game today. it was scheduled for later in the day, so i should've anticipated that his tiredness might affect his performance. it didn't help that the kick-off ball smashed into his face 2 seconds into the game. he was startled and i'm sure it hurt, too, so he started crying. i was pretty annoyed mad at the other team's players who were snickering, even though the coach was telling them it wasn't funny and someone could really get hurt. anyway, the boy sat out the first quarter and we gave him a little pep talk; i knew, however, that this incident was going to put a damper on his attitude a bit.

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.


hobokener said...

i'm just glad the kid is ok. my older brother once took a soccer ball in the eye and had blurred vision for a couple days. about the other kids, what can i say, kids are mean. though i can only guess how hard it is for you to stand by when you feel like your kid is under attack. take solace in this - if the other team is like the mean kids team in sports movies, then the kid's team will come back and dramatically beat them at the end of the season.

grudge girl said...

I am so with you. It REALLY bothers me when other kids are callous. I have, in fact, gone ahead and, totally nicely of course, (though seething with protective mama hate) said something instructive to the mean kids. And though I was smiling and pleasant the whole time, they knew I meant business. I couldn't help it! I have no problem parenting other people's kids if they are out of line, and no one else is stepping in. I've been to ONE of my nephew's hockey games because I was so inCENSED at the out of control atmosphere, with tightly-wound parents shouting, "BE AGGRESSIVE! GET HIM!" at their freaking 6 year old kids. Yeah. That's what happens to boys. We've chosen to emphasize the "gentlemanly" sports like swimming, tennis, gymnastics, and the like. Even karate is safer, in my experience. I just don't believe boys have to conform to the particular idea that is REALLY emphasized here in Indy. Jockish and aggressive and insensitive. I won't have it for my boys. Good for you, for being so sensitive to your boy and what he was feeling. It's not easy.

yucaree said...

thanks for the support, guys. at times i feel like i over-react because i know my son's very sensitive nature and i want to protect him forever. one side of me feels like he needs to toughen up, but the other (majority) side of me feels like there's no need for him to become society's image of what a boy should be. in the last five years i've already seen that my son is not the typical little boy and it would be wrong for me to change him to become that. i love him for who he is and i'm proud that my son can be empathetic and sympathetic, and he makes an effort to understand things in a mature way.

we'll just have to see how this soccer thing goes. i do want him to participate in sports and i can't imagine that most kids are like the TT team ... i hope. and i must remind myself that these bumps in the road are teachable moments i should take advantage of.

hobokener said...

BTW, my wife says that she would have yelled at the kids no problem, so you can consider yourself a model of restraint.

yucaree said...


i think once you're a teacher, it becomes second nature to put kids in their place. i usually don't have a problem with making sure kids are doing what they should be doing, but i hesitated because 1) the boy needed attention, and 2) i didn't want to make unneeded enemies of the other soccer parents. but if it ever happens again, i'm shedding any restraint and going into attack mode!