Sunday, September 30, 2007

Inching toward the goal

Soccer season has begun. Lucas was very excited to start soccer. Thanks to my brother, Lucas was practically born with a soccer ball at his feet. "Ball" was one of his first words. And he loves kicking the ball around at the park.

The first soccer practice, a few weeks ago, was looked forward to with much anticipation. Lucas told everyone the days leading up to soccer that he was going to play soccer soon. My mom drove out to see Lucas' big debut on the field. However, as what happens many times with 4-year olds, things don't turn out quite like you expect. Lucas spent the 75-minutes clinging onto my hand or my leg.We're not sure what happened: preschooler stage fright, too much chaos, or just the need to hold onto a warm body and watch? Probably all of the above. We stayed until the end and then went home. Lucas napped, probably from all the exertion it took to hang onto another person for dear life.

We missed the 2nd soccer practice, but went out on the field again yesterday. I didn't have high hopes (in fact, I felt lucky that he didn't kick up a fuss when I told him to suit up for soccer), but I told Lucas that even if he didn't want to play, we needed to go out there to watch and support his team. I assured him that it was okay if he didn't want to play.

We got out to the field a half hour earlier than his team. I figured it would be less intimidating if we got there early. We brought a ball from home and we kicked it around (yes, Lucas actually made contact with a soccer ball). Then his buddy Matteo got there and he and Lucas took turns shooting for and protecting the goal (another big step for Lucas). However when more kids showed up, Lucas pleaded with me to sit on the bench, which was far away from the soccer field. I convinced him that the bench was just for old people to sit on and we needed to at least be by the field to watch his team.

So we watched for a little bit. But mostly we dribbled the ball on the adjoining field, we kicked the ball into the goal, we did all the things you do when you play soccer. Every once in a while I would kick the ball over to the other field and we'd play over there for a little.
We had a great time. And even after I stopped playing with Lucas, he continued to run up and down the field, dribbling the ball. He worked up a good sweat.
After the team was done, he continued to dribble and one of the kids from his preschool class came up and they dribbled the ball together. Lucas asked if he could have a soccer play date with this kid.

I finally coerced Lucas away from the soccer field with a promise of pizza and strawberry lemonade for lunch. We went with Sydney and her mom Noel (from my mom's group) to Gioia Pizzeria.

Sydney and Lucas sat together and had a nice post-soccer pizza date. It was a nice ending to Lucas' first real day of soccer.

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