The end of an era
“Oh, c’mon, honey. You love soccer.”
“No, I yousta love soccer. Now I don’t.”
“Okay, well, just show up. You can get your medal.” It was the last day of the season. Was it just the transition from one activity to the next? He and one of his brothers had been engrossed with sorting through Pokemon cards for a good portion of the morning. This activity included unearthing them from all the crevices of our home, leaving all sorts of examined-and-discarded items in their wake, and some drawers dumped out, too.
“Oh, all right!” Grumble, grumble, as he stalked off to finish getting dressed. “But don’t sign me up for soccer again!” he huffed over his shoulder. Was he serious? Once we got to the soccer field, my son seemed to enjoy himself.
I couldn’t even imagine no more soccer at all, but it was not the first time he said this to me. Two weeks prior he’d added, “I always lose!” (which is ridiculous, because “everyone’s a winner” in U6 soccer – they don’t even keep score). This launched a conversation about how even if you lose you can have a winning attitude and be a good sport about it, specifically applicable to his older brothers’ baseball games – and thus discussed within their earshot – where the competition is often intense. Learning to handle disappointment is also specifically applicable to life, where can’t always get what you want.
It had already been bittersweet knowing that the Bigs were giving up soccer – this spring, there was no way I was going to do soccer and baseball since that would mean four different teams in addition to my youngest’s – and I have already signed them up for football next fall.
“Well, you’ve gotta pick a sport. I can’t have you sitting around all season.” I wondered what else he could do in the fall. Karate? Swimming? I’m fairly certain if there was a baseball program anywhere, he’d be all over it. His lamentation this spring had been that he was not old enough for a t-ball team, though he regularly participates in family baseball, especially as the “empire.”
I relayed this conversation to one of the other moms at the soccer field. We both knew things are likely to change once school starts (yes, my youngest will be in real school next year) and “all the other kids” are playing soccer. We giggled over the projected, “Why didn’t you sign me up!?” But maybe not. Just because the Bigs played two seasons of soccer a year since they were four years old, and sometimes had private coaching, doesn’t mean that their younger brother would want to. I, personally, cannot imagine why not, but to each his own.
In all truthfulness, given how much whining occurs on a regular basis, how the kids swarm the ball and forget in what direction they’re headed, or how they just stop and wander off the field, starting over with U6 soccer this past year had been not the best kind of “remember when.” But it was a right of passage of sorts, for all of us. Now the Bigs had to be dragged to their younger brother’s activities, where previously he’d been the tagalong. And as he attended his kindergarten screening at the elementary school this past week (while I sat in the library and waited with the other parents), it was becoming apparent that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.