Soccer Update

It seems so easy. You sign your child up to play sports. He plays sports. Everyone is happy.

But no, that's not always how it is. At least not in our house. I mentioned last week about us getting back into the world of sports again, and how for Jacob this meant joining the school's soccer team.

I also mentioned how the team at that time didn't have enough players, and how I was afraid that the team wouldn't be able to continue.

When the coach was sharing this possibility with the few boys that were there, he said that there were other neighboring schools that might be able to take on our players. Did anyone want to do that instead? I looked at Jacob, and not surprisingly, he was already shaking his head no before I could even make eye contact with him.

So, when the coach called this week saying that that they couldn't get the number they needed for the team, but that another school would take our kids, I knew we were in for an uphill battle. I mentioned it casually to Jacob, like this, "So, the soccer coach says that there's not enough kids available for your school, but there are two teams at Maple Cr-"

"No," he said, cruelly cutting off the "eek" from the "Creek". "I don't want to go to another school to play."

Well, I let it sit for a few days, and while it sat, I gave it some thought. I figured that surely the other school's soccer program was similar to ours - just a bunch of kids playing rec soccer - some good, some bad. No matching uniforms, no cut-throat playing philosophy. No fancy plays read aloud to the players in utero. A good environment for Jacob.

So, I talked it over with Jason, and we decided that we would make him go to one practice at the other school. I pondered over the best way to break this news to Jacob with the least amount of protest from him, but every time I began to talk about it, I got immediate resistance. I even threw in the obvious association of new cleats and a new soccer ball to try and pad the blow, but I got the same reaction every time.

As it ended up, I came across the perfect opportunity yesterday to tell him the bad news because he was already mad at me for telling him that he had to stop raiding the Lego Store stash for his own personal building projects. While he was fuming about that, I added in, "Well, since you're already made about that, I'll tell you this other thing, and you can go off to your room and be mad about all of it. Tonight is the soccer practice at Maple Creek, and we've decided that you should go, no matter what."

This proclamation was met with immediate, vehement protest. He exclaimed and shouted, he ranted and raved, and then he grabbed got his bike/scooter helmet and stormed out of the house. "Hmmm," I thought aloud. "I believe he's run away."

But he had not. He was sitting on the front porch, most likely planning on running away.

"Just one practice to try it out," I told him, when I sat down beside him. "Then you can say yes or no, and if you say no, I promise I won't say another word about it."

He frowned mightily and stormed off the porch on his scooter, in a rolling kind of way.

"Plus, when we pick up your soccer shoes and ball, I thought we could look for some new fancy soccer shorts, too, " I called out after him.

Sigh. There I went, off the bad parenting deep end - resorting to bribery.

But it worked. He went to practice with not too much fuss, lured forward with the promise of a shopping trip to Sports Authority right after practice, whether he wanted to play or not. As soon as he got to the playing field, he saw one of the boys he really liked from his Spring Basketball league on the team. The coach is great. The boys are normal. Of course, he wants to play on the team.

On the way home, he said, "Thanks for forcing me to go."

"Oh," I responded, "You're welcome."

And that was even before he got his new shorts.

Photo by Balakov (Creative Commons License: Attribution, Non-Commercial)Open on Flickr

Barbara  – (11 September 2009 at 14:53)  

I am so glad -- and hope it continues to be a good thing for him. I've been praying about it off and on during the week.

Bob  – (12 September 2009 at 09:25)  

And what an incredible Mommy moment - you usually don't get those until much, much, later.

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