Reflections on Soccer Practice

I find Baxter’s soccer practices a little hard to take. No, the coach isn’t a big jerk like some of the others I’ve observed. No, the other kids aren’t a problem. But sometimes it’s just very difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch your child do all the things that drive you bananas when you can’t do much about it.

Take tonight. Baxter arrived full of pent up energy and was dying to get out there and run. Great! It’s soccer, after all, so let’s use that energy! But when the kids were lined up waiting for a turn practicing a skill, he was busy kicking his friends’ soccer balls out from under them – which made one (admittedly over-sensitive) girl cry in her dad’s arms for ten minutes. Cringe. Then, no matter what the team was doing, my son was screaming and bellowing out on the field. “Yeah! Good one! Did you see that one? Wow!!!” Granted, it’s excited bellowing, but it’s irritating to me nonetheless. Because the other kids have MOVED ON and are PLAYING THE GAME while he focuses on his own volume. (I know, Mom and Dad, he comes by this naturally. I do recognize it!) When he stops for a water break I compliment him on how he’s playing but always find myself saying things like, “Honey, less screaming and more watching what’s going on, okay?”

When I groaned out loud and another mom saw me cringe, she pointed out to me the very real fact that they are all six years old and they are all squirrelly. I looked around at the rest of the team and it was true: many of them were kicking balls away from each other when they were supposed to be listening (including Crying Girl), and during the times when my son was actually playing the game, I was able to notice that there was a girl picking clover, another kid claiming she was too tired and her shirt was too itchy to play, a boy who overcompensated for his anxiety by putting the other kids down, and another boy whose main objective seemed to be to crash as hard as he could on the ground as often as possible. It helped me to realize that their parents were cringing and reminding their kids about all of these other things, things my child doesn’t need to work on. At least not at the moment.

And at the end of the game, it became clear that the other kids really like Baxter; they single him out to say good-bye and leave the field together. In fact, as we were getting into the car, two girls appeared out of nowhere and literally lined up by his car door to say good-bye to him in high, thin, flirtatious voices: “Bye-bye, Baxter!”, “Bye, Baxty!”, and “See you Sunday!!” until their parents dragged them back to their own cars. One mom confessed that her daughter is somewhat “obsessed” with him.

So my reprimands? They are necessary if he’s going to learn to regulate his enthusiasm appropriately. But I guess I don’t need to worry that he’s driving everyone else nuts.

Apparently, it’s just me.


5 responses to “Reflections on Soccer Practice

  1. Love this. I needed a good giggle tonight. 🙂

  2. I have my share of those cringing moments also. How many times in one day can I tell myself, “He’s just a 7 year old boy?”

  3. Cringing? I’ve elevated it to an art form. Sigh.

  4. Christopher Tassava

    Man, this strikes some familiar notes for me. I’m always surprised and a bit dismayed to find myself annoyed by this or that behavior by one of the girls I love so much. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    It sounds, though, like ol’ “Baxty” is driving some other females nuts. Those satiny soccer shirts, I’m sure.

  5. Lori at Spinning Yellow

    I can totally relate to this! Usually I am telling my son to get it together and everyone else is like, “but my kid isn’t even paying attention, he’s so into it.” Yeah, we are never happy as parents, it always looks like our child is out-of-line.

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