Saturday morning began at the soccer field. Youngest was playing her first game ever. And Boy was to play his first game in a new age division. The excitement was
almost enough to get them to the field on time building as we rushed from the house bright and early.
First up was to be Youngest. She was decked out in new cleats
don't ask - Goodwill must have gotten the older kids' shoes and shin guards. She was raring to go. As the game began we sat on the sidelines and watched the team of 5 & 6 year olds wave celebrity-style at all the parents assembled. The coach blew the whistle and there they stood. Looking at one another for direction. The clueless leading the lost.
Eventually things got rolling and the kids were kicking the ball and running around the field. The frantic parental yelling could have been mistaken for boisterous cheering from afar. But as one approached the field it would clarify to directions. "Kick the ball." "Go the other way!" were popular cheers. Parents who had never met were rapidly learning all the players name, as it became clear that the players responded to directions best when names were used. It was an energetic game with the parents giving it their all and the kids running from one end of the field to the other - regardless of the possession or location of the ball.
Next up was Boy's game. Here was a notable difference in the activity of the parents. Fewer were the shouts of encouragement and absent were the directions. The play progressed with directions from coaches alone and was watched by a largely silent crowd. It was a more professional game with better planning and teamwork. Missing the noise and energy of the previous game, I was able to focus on the skill and attention Boy has developed. I take heart that Teen's seasons always began like this, and as the season progresses parents will learn names and will soon be cheering and engaging in the game.