I should have known that watching my 5-year old son play in his second soccer game was going to be interesting when, on the way to game, he told me “The best part of the game is getting MY OWN water bottle”. About 5 minutes later he revised that statement by proclaiming “The best part of the game is getting to wear MY OWN uniform”. And I’m certain, had the ride taken any longer, this would have continued.
Coaching a group of 5-year olds must feel comparable to trying to capture three dozen superballs that just dropped off your kitchen counter. Their bounce is unpredictable, they’re elusive, and their sheer numbers wear you down.
Lincoln’s team is made up of three boys and one girl. The girl was the only player who seemed to realize that a soccer game was taking place. One boy wandered over to the sideline of the opposing team and struck up a conversation with anyone who would listen. Another boy was kicking the ball towards the goal when a ladybug landed on his jersey which suddenly became a lot more interesting than the game. When his hat wasn’t pulled over his eyes, my son got in a few good kicks, some of which, were booted in the right direction. During halftime, one of boys excitedly ran up to his dad and said, “I think I’m sweating!!”
The coach spends most of his time getting the kids moving in the right direction. Good things happen when everyone is moving in the right direction. Kicking the ball into the goal is almost an afterthought with this group. The kids are most excited about the pre-game jumping jacks, the orange slices at half time and the water bottle at game’s end. Oh, and I can’t forget how “cool” it looks if one ends up with a little mud on the uniform. Nothing tells your sister how hard you played like mud on the uniform.
I loaded Lincoln and Anna in the car after stopping for lunch. As we drove home Lincoln said, “Dad, do you know what’s the best part of the game?” I replied that I wasn’t sure so maybe he should tell me. “The best part is when you take us to McDonalds and I get my OWN ROOTBEER”.
The pretty much puts today’s game in perspective.