"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, March 26, 2011

soccer success! ....and then....

Evan is halfway through Season Two of Soccer. Soccer, for the under-4 crowd around here consists of one coach, five or six high-school-aged assistant coaches, and about 40 kids (with 40 soccer balls) running around a soccer fields "practicing" soccer "skills." It's a Parent Participation As Needed League, which for most kids means that, after the first five "gettting acquainted" minutes of the first practice, the parents retreat to the sidelines, cheering wildly and videotaping every second of their child's budding soccer genius in development. Not for Evan. For Evan, this meant that for Every Single Minute of Every Single Practice during Season One, I was out on the field with him, encouraging him, prodding him to participate, and for the first few sessions, literally holding his hand. By the end of Season One, Evan was running up and down the field, scoring goals, playing the games, and generally enjoying himself. And I was Right There with him.

Season Two began right where Season One ended. Evan was happy to be back on the soccer field and thrilled beyond belief to be in the midst of the celebrity Coach John once more. (Coach John, who, by the way, may very well be the nicest, most patient man on the planet. And who, I'm projecting here but I think I'm right, has a special place in his heart for My Evan....with whom he spoke many times during the practices about trucks and hawks and whatever else happened to be on Evan's mind at the moment.) But I never left his side...

We missed last weekend's practice due to the fever virus that reared its ugly head once again in our house, but were back today, bundled against the cold and looking forward to another Mommy and Evan Soccer Practice. Only this time....after the first five minutes or so....while Evan was participating in the Red Light/Green Light game....I quietly retreated back a few steps. Evan kept looking back to me to make sure I was there, but after a reassuring wave from me, he went back to the game with the rest of the team. After a few minutes, I took a few more steps back...and then a few more, until I, too, was On The Sidelines! I kept my eyes glued on my little boy, not wanting to risk him catching me paying attention to anything other than him. And he was doing great!! Running when the kids were running....freezing when the kids were freezing....sitting in the Magic Circle at midfield when the rest of the kids were sitting in the Magic Circle....running back to the sidelines to get water when the others did the same!

And then....BAM!!

Five feet from the water bottle on the sideline, and while running with a Huge Proud Smile on his face, Evan got totally bulldozed by another kid. He got pummeled to the ground and landed in a little heap. It was a complete accident, and he was completely fine, but he was Embarrassed. Really humiliated. Parents were "Aww"-ing and asking if he was okay and I could tell he just wanted to disappear. I scooped him up and checked to see if he was hurt, and he just melted into my arms, his face hidden beneath his hooded sweatshirt. As the tears just streamed down his face, he clung to me saying, "I just can't go back out there. I just won't."

And so he didn't. He spent the rest of the practice curled up in my lap, sharing strawberries with Max. He lit up a bit when Coach John came over to see if he was alright, and he did join the team to run through the "tunnel" that the parents form at the end of the practice, so I'm optimistic that he'll be brave again next week. I hope so.

Lesson Learned:
One step forward, two steps back. Or rather, one step forward, one faceplant into the grass back. Poor baby.

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