What happens when an outside-the-lines kid plays soccer
— 1 —
It’s been over a month now since Girl 1’s first Kiddie Kickers soccer season ended, but I want to share a little story with you.
— 2 —
The first half of each practice/ game consists of little games and drills. Girl 1 really enjoyed this. It’s clear she doesn’t really comprehend most of the instructions the coach shouts out, but she follows along with the other kids and has a good time.
— 3 —
The second half is the “game.” Her team is divided into sides, and one side wear little mesh vests to distinguish it from the other.
About two kids make contact with the ball, and they score goal after goal.
Another ten or so run around after the first two, with some intention of making contact with the ball.
The last three or four trail the other kids . . . most of the time. Until they find something more interesting to do.
— 4 —
Girl 1 is in the straggler group. She cheerfully trots along, because she observes that this is the part of soccer when we stop playing fun games and have to run around instead. She clearly has no idea of what “side” she’s on, or what her objective is. Several times the ball would roll right in front of her and she paid no mind.
At one practice toward the end, I noticed she was trailing even farther behind than usual, and running in a funny way. It dawned on me that she was doing her deer leap. She was loping around, pretending to be a deer!
— 5 —
During the last two weeks, she got chummy with another little girl on the team. During the “game,” they stopped even running. Instead they would stroll around the field, arms wrapped around each others shoulders, or holding hands. Chatting.
On the very last practice, shortly after Halloween, another straggler (a little boy), pulled the front of his mesh vest up over his head. He chased them around that way, mesh covering his face, pretending to be a “witch” and scare them. The girls shrieked and ran away, delighted.
With about five minutes left to go in Girl 1’s last “game” of the season, I turned my head and looked away briefly.
Then I looked back to the field: Girl 1 and her chum had decided that they would be the “witches” and chase the little boy who had been chasing them.
— 6 —
Except they were on the other “side” and weren’t wearing mesh vests.
So they pulled their jerseys up over their heads instead.
There was my little girl and her new BFF, running around with her shirt up over her head, gleefully flashing bare torsos for all the town to see.
The other girl’s mom and I cracked up. The little boy’s mom mouthed, “I’m sorry!” There was nothing we could do. I’m sure my face was beet red.
Quite possibly a career as a professional soccer player is not in Girl 1’s future.
— 7 —
But then again, maybe it is.
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