bend it

Braden had his first soccer game today. His first ever soccer practice was yesterday. About a week ago we bought him some cleats and a ball... so he was able run around the yard with us to get a feel for what soccer is all about. But I don't think it was really enough.

There are 7 kids on his 'team'. They all have been playing soccer for AT LEAST one year... some even more than that. And it shows. These kids run circles (literally) around him. Braden has no concept of the rules of the game, or why he should stand in a certain place or why he needs to run faster than his opponent etc etc.

He had a great time both days running around, falling down on purpose and fiddling with his shin guards. His experience of the whole thing is pure joy and fun. He sees no need to beat his opponent to the ball or pay attention to what direction he is running in... He just runs and every once in a while his foot accidentally hits the ball.

The coach seems like a nice enough guy. I watched him run some drills at practice and set up some cones for them to run around. I am not sure what I want to be seeing... but I feel like there is something missing. I guess I thought there would be more 'instruction' and explanation of the game and the rules and what is expected of Braden.

I feel like I have made a mistake by not putting Braden into soccer earlier. Everyone else seems to know the drill and seems to be REALLY invested in the games. Every single parent was yelling at their kid through out the game... I thought to myself... really? Do you think the kid is even paying attention? Do you think if you forget to shout run, or defence or hustle the kid will just stand there like a bump on a log?

I don't know how to impart to Braden the idea and purpose of the game... to get him to understand the concept of competitive drive and winning and working on a team. I played sports all through middle and high school... but I am not a sports lover... so Braden has never been exposed to that sort of thing.

He seems to understand winning in the context of car racing...but not soccer. I don't know how to make the jump for him in his mind.

But for now, it really is only me that has the problem. He talks about soccer every day. Wants to run around with us, and go to practice... His coach says he is fine and nothing needs to be 'done.' It is just me... I need to let go of my expectations... and let Braden's experience unfold naturally...

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