Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Soccer mania

Today marks the end of peaceful dinners, quiet weekends and free time. Soccer season begins…

Oregonians take soccer seriously, which makes no sense considering annual rainfall. A warm, dry indoor sport would be nicer for parents. A sideline coffee cart would be awesome too.

We spend most of the year coordinating our schedules around soccer practices and games. My kids play soccer because they love the sport. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. You need killer instinct and the desire to sacrifice your body.

I really hate the sacrifice part—I spend half my son’s games with eyes closed, heart in my hands…who knew that was physiologically possible? My husband keeps me from slide tackling players who hurt my son via illegal maneuvers. There’s a silly rule that parents aren’t allowed on the field...

Our son plays competitively…emphasis on winning and winning tough—no one cares if he loves the game. He’s not an aggressive person but fought hard to overcome that. In the process, he lost the natural joy and confidence he exhibited in recreational soccer. He's decided to stay competitive, which I understand, but I miss the light in his eyes.

My daughter plays pre-competitively--it’s still ok to love the game and make a few mistakes. I relax and visit during her games…sometimes she waves at me from the field. She’s aggressive but very fair—somehow I think that’s a point against her. Her team might go competitive next year...I dread the first time a coach yells at her, diminishing her joy on the field.

I wasn’t exposed to competitive sports until high school—it was hard enough at that age to put up with angry coaches. Childhood is the shortest time of life…should competitive sports be the focal point? When did love of the game become an afterthought?

1 comment:

The Marathon Man said...

The funny thing is that most parents wouldn't do something that they weren't enjoying.
I took my kids down the competitive road, so I felt the loss of the joy just as you describe it. As adults we do that to so many parts of life.