Ah, Jake’s first soccer game was this weekend.
And it was awful. Really awful.
First, it was rainy and cold, and the kid had a uniform consisting of shorts, short sleeved shirt and knee socks. My son is not a morning person (like me) and instead of having coffee, he likes to eat leisurely, watch a little television, and think about his activities for the day before committing to getting dressed. Since we needed to be on the field by 9:30am, there was no time for reflection. I bundled him up and sent him out there.
Warm ups consisted of jumping jacks. Jake just looked at the coach like he was on drugs for making him move so early. One of the cute little girls on his team thought he was retarded, so she ran over to him and showed him personally how to move his arms and legs. Still didn’t help.
Coach put him on defense. In the first quarter, my son watched the entire team race past him while he waved to the competitors. He kept turning the wrong way and guarding the wrong net. Never listened to the coach’s comments, just hung out on the field and waited for something. More rain maybe, so the game would be cancelled? I will never know.
Finally, in the second quarter, he walked off the field. Literally. Came up to the stands and sat in the stroller and declared he was done playing soccer. This is when my blood went to the boiling point and I said to his father, “You take care of this!” I figured that father/son relationship would be a little better at kicking some ass in sports. But it didn’t work. We gave him the pep talk, the threats, and the lecture on teamwork. Near tears, this wonderful coach told me my child was completely normal, and that most children cried their way through their first games.
Of course, when the coach showed Jake a goodybag stuffed with candy and toys, and told him only kids who finish the game receives them, my son got up from his stroller and got back on the field to play the last quarter. Bribery is definitely my favorite tool as a parent.
That hour long soccer game felt like the entire Winter Olympics, I swear. I was completely and emotionally exhausted by the experience.
Am I just a crazy, obsessive parent who thinks about every step I make in this journey as if it will scar them or inspire them for life? Why does soccer for a five year old have to be such a nerve wracking experience? Why do I feel team sports is so important to his growth? When I was growing up my mother just told us there was no money, and to go outside and play and come back for lunch. In my generation, I don’t feel safe leaving my kids in my fenced backyard due to too many Lifetime movies.
Where the hell is the manual!!!! Why didn’t anyone write a manual???
The good news? Bribery worked. He can’t wait for his next game because he is anticipating a new treat or toy.
I give up.