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Sunday, March 7, 2010

End of an era


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:
  1. Play rec soccer
  2. Join the kids triathalon training team at the community center we recently joined (training once per week)
  3. Play no organized sports and just enjoy the freedom of being a kid
He picked the kids triathalon.

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.


Sharon said...

Aw! Football makes me nervous. Then again, I'm new to all this, as my kids have never played organized sports beyond summer rec stuff. Aidan might start playing real soccer in a few weeks. Ah!

Either way, I hope Charlie gets to do something he enjoys. :)

Janet said...

I really like how you handled the situation with Charlie. Thanks for sharing.

Shelley said...

Oh, I know just what you mean.

The girls played for a home school volleyball league for about three years, but we eventually got tired of the coaching. The coach, who was a volunteer, was one of the kind who put his own TWELVE YEAR OLD on the varsity team with the 16-18 year olds -- and did I mention that she'd never played volleyball before. It was just ludicrous and took so much joy out of the matches, because of course with the 12yo playing, M's varsity team lost every single game for the season. Because the 12yo? She played a BUNCH.

Our only other option was league volleyball on a traveling team. The games were all less than an hour away, practice was in a school gym only twenty minutes away, and it all sounded ideal until we caught a gander at the price tag: $1500 PER GIRL.

We just couldn't do it. It made us all really sad. But in spite of our sadness at giving up volleyball, it was better than the anger and frustration at dealing with that %$#& coach.

Anonymous said...

From one soccer mom to another - I can relate to your sense of sadness and emptyness. My oldest son decided when he went to HS that he no longer wanted to play club ball. I was heart broken but supported his decision. Then in his Junior year of HS, he decided that he didn't want to play HS ball either - hated the coach. I was lost. Over the years, I'd really gotten to enjoy the game, so I go to the YMCA around the corner from my house and watch kids I don't know and laugh at their parents. I swear I'll be 80 and on the sidelines of a soccer field.

kimybeee said...

Our daughter played ball/softball from the time she was six until she was fourteen/almost fifteen. She started on a travel team when she was ten. She chose to quit for several very smart reasons. (we were so dedicated that we even bought a vehicle that was easier to travel in) That was the best decision and she is very involved in lots of other things, but...

every spring when those girls start talking softball, we can't help but be a little sad. once you spend so much time doing something, you can't help but grieve for what you are missing.

Cat said...

Awww... I'm looking forward to days of sitting on sidelines. Sounds like you made the right decision, and I think it's great that Charlie got options within that decision.

Jenny McB said...

Been there with three boys,second one went the football route. It was great until high school, terrible coaches with a bad program. Pop Warner was the best experience of his life sport wise and HS was just painful for me to watch. But they have to do what they enjoy.
I was disappointed when my youngest quit Nordic, I loved what the sport did for him physically, team was great and the parents were nice.