I signed our oldest up for soccer. I’m not sure if I felt pressured listening to the other school moms talk about the thousands of activities their kids are involved in, or convicted by the neon-lettered sign boards all over town announcing the arrival of outdoor soccer season.
Either way, I got the name of a club that two other Kindergarteners are signed up with, and registered the Gort. And I have reminded him of his imminent soccer debut ever since. Lest he forget and wail ‘I don’t want to play soccer’ on the morning of the first game.
At the beginning of the week he asked how many more days before his first soccer game. ‘Five,’ I announced. And for reasons I don’t necessarily comprehend, his excitement grew tenfold. He found his calendar and made a countdown of days ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1’. (The countdown started AFTER the 24th of April, but why get hung up on technicalities?) He informed random people that he would be playing soccer this week. ‘Only 4 more days until soccer!’ he’d announce.
It was definitely not the reaction I’d expected. Kids are good for that – the unexpected – I suppose.
Wednesday night we went cleat shopping. While I wandered around the sports store trying to keep the Hen from dismantling the carefully arranged hockey stick display, the professor stuffed our oldest’s feet into cleats.
Yesterday he got his uniform. He raced home from school, inhaled the snack I’d prepared and ran upstairs in search of the shin guards we’d bought last weekend. He then proceeded to disrobe in the hallway by the (closed) front door and draped himself with various colors of a too-big poly-blend uniform.
Black shorts. Maroon jersey. With the number 8 on the back. Shin guard. Black socks. Cleats.
I asked if I could take a picture of him. ‘Wait, let me go get my soccer trophy (from two and a half years ago)’, he stalled before running to the basement to find the little piece of clear plastic that will forever remind us that three and a half year olds should not play soccer. Especially not right after the arrival of their baby brother. And especially not if their dad is the coach.
Which, I’m guessing is not the same association our oldest has with that piece of clear plastic.
We retreated to the backyard to ‘practice’. This mostly involved the professor admonishing ‘you can’t touch the ball with your hands!’ Which we eventually shortened to something like ‘feet, not hands!’ And I, running after him in my red crocs with the camera hanging around my neck. To simulate a soccer field where actual kids will crowd his personal space trying to steal the ball.
He left, abruptly, after about ten minutes of running around. He returned moments later with an enormous water bottle. Apparently he’d built up quite a thirst. He stood by the fence and took long drinks before carefully leaning the bottle against it. And every five minutes he’d stop to take another drink.
As I looked at the downloaded pictures last night, all I noticed was the huge smile on his face in nearly every picture.
This morning he climbed onto my bed to lie there for a minute before heading downstairs for cereal. ‘Today is going to be such a fun day,’ he mused. By 8.45am he was fully dressed in his black and maroon regalia and arguing with us about why he should be allowed to wear his cleats. Inside the house. For the remaining two plus hours before the start of the game.
It’s going to be a fun day.