The kids run up and down the small field kicking a ball. They play games aimed at teaching soccer skills. The coaches are volunteers, so they only take it minimally seriously. There is a small, seemingly unintimidating group of children. Good times had by all, right?
Our middle man wanted to play soccer after a year of his oldest brother playing. As soon as he got on the field...wait, no. Before he got on the field he froze up. He got embarrassed. I had to hold his hand the entire time. He knew his coach. She's someone we spend time with a lot. He knew two children out of 5 on his team. Still, he was embarrassed. It took a lot for him to actually play that first day. When he kicked the ball out of bounds, he cried. My little tough guy cried. It was so heart breaking. Day two...he spent all of 30 seconds on the field and then walked off. When it's his day for practice, he does not want to go. When we're there for his brother's practices, he tries to play on the field.
Not so easy.
My darling eldest, however, has turned into the jock I hated in high school. He keeps score. He has laughed when another child missed the goal. He's pointed and called out the score, making sure the other team knew they were the lower number. Oh. My. Gosh. This. Is. Not. My. Kid.
Teachable moments, right? That's what we're trying. I'd like him to keep his competitiveness without being The Mean Kid. You've got to be somewhat competitive to enjoy and do well in, well, competitive sports.