Our kindergarten soccer team doesn’t have a name. I don’t know why. Officially, we’re Team No. 7, but that isn’t very inspiring. Our uniform t-shirts are just as ambiguous – a maroon or burgundy color, neither of which rolls off the tongue when yelled from the sidelines. I contemplated pushing “Maroon 7,” “Bur-gun-dy!” or Marooooon!, but they didn’t quite click. So on game day, pacing the turf from the sidelines, I begrudgingly fell into the cheer of, “Go…Purple!” Not very manly for the young lads, but it will have to work.
That said, we had our second game this past Saturday afternoon, and so far we’re 2-0. Not that they really keep score, (we’re actually a little fuzzy on this week’s score, but I’m sticking with an unofficial 2-0!). The one goal that I am sure that we did score, I’m proud to report, was kicked by my son. And he later followed it up with a beautiful kick save during his turn in goal.
As a father, I’m realizing that I have to be very careful about how I respond to the kids’ interests. I can already see that all three of my boys may likely not be equal with their skills and talents in sports and countless other areas. As much as my heart leaps to see Matthew show an early genuine interest and competitive nature in sports, I need to find the best way to respond if Josh doesn’t show the same desire or if he wants to try other things. For his part, last week Josh had a great first class at 4-year-old Taekwondo (thank you spell-check) after preschool on Friday. And tonight he ran inside to announce that he finally made a basket on our 6-foot hoop on the patio. I guess you never know. If it’s any indication, Aaron is already crawling at 6 months and seems desperate to run with his brothers. But maybe he’ll be a musician.
As the wise old gym teacher told us at BTSN , sports (and the 5,000 other activities that our kids are soon to be pressured to get involved in) should help kids explore themselves and the world around them. Beyond that, it’s a fine balance between encouraging them to do their best, challenging them to succeed, and supporting them so that they know you love them regardless of what they do. I think that whoever we are, whatever sport we play or career we take, life is guaranteed to bring a generous helping of disappointment and failure. The more I see of mine, the more I’ve come to realize that the biggest difference, and the real goal, is what you do next.