Two Faces of Soccer

So this is what I wrote the other day about Rosalind’s first day at soccer practice:
Rosalind began Spring Soccer. Granted, it’s a Pre-K program called First Touch. It teaches them basic skills through games and drills. They scrimmage at the end with a coach practically steering them around the field. We were out there with roughly 1,000 other parents and kids playing on other fields at all levels. We felt so…adult. And nervous.
You don’t know exactly how your kid will behave or how much you should interfere. You realize that you are expected to deal with other parents with drastically different parenting styles. You have to watch from the sidelines.
Rosalind has gone to daycare/preschool long enough that we quickly learned she knew how to deal with other children without our input. When faced with the hyperactive youngest member of the team that kept trying to scream in people’s faces and take their soccer balls, she simply stuck her arm straight out with her hand an inch from his face. A silent but definite, “Stop right there.” The kid was so startled he just sort of stepped back and never went near her again.
She also loves to please teachers and coaches. She was the first to yell out answers to their questions or repeat what they said. Sergio called her a know-it-all, which was true. But she giggled with so much glee and excitement that she came off endearing rather than bratty.
She was particularly good at the running drills and the trapping drills, but her literal personality got the best of her during dribbling drills. The coach said to keep the ball close to your feet. So she did. Moving at negative speed the ball stayed within a half inch of her feet. She got lapped by the other kids repeatedly. I could tell it made her nervous. Do what the coach said or follow the kids? Her answer seemed to be take a break and go to the bathroom! She’s a creative problem solver that one!

And then Saturday practice happened.
It was during her normal naptime and we had a really busy day up until then, so I’m sure she was pretty wiped out. And all of that giddiness she had at the first practice became nervous awareness at the second practice. She realized that she dribbled the ball much too slowly and she didn’t seem to have the energy reserves to change it. She just tucked in her chin and cried. When I encouraged her to keep trying she said, “I don’t want to do drivvling. My drivvling is sooo slow.” In a really pitiful wail. It was one of those awful moments as a parent where your kid expects you to save them from something bad in the moment, but you know that will set them up for bad habits in the future and you make them deal with it.
So she made mistakes through practice, melted down repeatedly, and then looked at us to rescue her only to be told to go out there and keep trying. When it was over, I didn’t even let her stay for a stamp on her hand. She was so overwrought and our nerves were shot. She passed out in 5 minutes flat once we got home and I zoned out in front of the tv for her whole three hour nap to recover from such hardcore parenting.
We’ve been practicing dribbling with her in fun ways, teaching her that’s it’s okay to steal the ball from other people, and really encouraging her on all the things she does really well. We’re just hoping to build up her confidence so that she doesn’t want to quit if things don’t go how she expects. I think she might have gotten her Father’s childhood trait of having to do things perfectly mixed with her Mother’s childhood trait of low self-confidence and hyper-awareness. It’s a toxic combination.
Or maybe she just needed a nap.

2 thoughts on “Two Faces of Soccer

  1. Despite the fact that Rolo had a tough day on Saturday, it was still completely fun to be her cheerleader! :). I would probably cry a little too if I tried to do something new while in need of a nap. Hope we get to come watch her again soon!

  2. Its probably good that I was not there for that one, I would have caved in. I know she will continue to do great. Good parenting guys. I love my little soccer darlin.

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