For the past eight years, beginning in mid to late April, you could find me on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays sitting on the sidelines at a soccer game. This year, you won't and I'm a little sad about that.
I love soccer. I enjoyed playing it as a kid, even though I wasn't very good. I've loved watching my kids play, even though watching when they are little and run after a ball like bees to an open can of soda is a little painful. And I have particularly loved watching Charlie play, even when I was frustrated with the coach and the program.
Charlie's been part of a developmental travel league for three years. For the most part, it's been a great experience. The kids on his team are good kids and the parents have been fun to spend weekends with. Up to this point, the travel has been minimal with most of it being within our general metropolitan area and only a handful of games being up to an hour away.
Because he's competitive to the core, Charlie has enjoyed playing. But, unlike his Mom, he doesn't love soccer. He's all about the games, but doesn't really care for the practices, something his effort has reflected.
What Charlie does love is football. He really wants to play on the school team in the fall. In the third grade, we allowed him to sign up for football and soccer. I think God knew that was crazy talking, because the second weekend into that lunacy, Charlie broke his arm (playing soccer) and missed the rest of the football season, though he did get to play a few tournament soccer games.
So, we've decided to let him play football in the fall. Given that, it didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to spend $500 (league + tournament fees) for him to play soccer in a program that he won't be returning to in the fall, especially since we're basically living on my 3/4-time income right now. It's not like this was a completely economical decision, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a big factor in our thought process.
We didn't tell Charlie he couldn't play soccer. We sat down with him and said, "if you could choose, what would you play in the fall -- soccer or football?" We knew what he would say to that.
So, given his choice, we laid out his options for the spring:
- Play rec soccer
- Join the kids triathalon training team at the community center we recently joined (training once per week)
- Play no organized sports and just enjoy the freedom of being a kid
So, in about 6 weeks when the soccer fields start filling up with players and fans, we won't be there. And while the prospect of free weekends is a bit exciting, I'll admit to being a little sad about the end of the soccer era in this house.