Z has loved anything sports since he was about 4 months old and discovered his first ball. Since then he has been into hockey, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and most importantly to him golf :) I grew up playing many sports but soccer was always my favorite. I was so excited that he was finally 3 and able to play in the local rec league. This past summer I downloaded the application for the 3-4 year old soccer program (in the town next to ours) and was so upset when I found out that Z missed the age cut off by 25 days :(
My dad (a former town athletic club commissioner) begged me not to call them and ask for special permission to get Z into the league. He told me about all of the mothers who would call and harass him to let their younger child into the league because they were so talented. He begged me not to be that mother. Disappointed, I listened to him and tried to find another alternative for Z to be able to experience team sports.
As it turns out our Rec department has a tot soccer program! It was also for 3 and 4 year olds but the cutoff for this league was late September...Z made the cutoff! Tot soccer was only once a week for 4 weeks which this pregnant lady liked a lot better than the 2x per week ( for 2 months) commitment of the other league. Z and I both couldn't wait for the first day. We practiced in the house and yard by passing the ball back and forth and scoring goals in his little soccer net.
After Z's first day of soccer, I am so GLAD I listened to my daddy! Z does have some natural talent when it comes to kicking the ball, "dribbling" it and scoring goals on his own but Z is CLUELESS when it comes to the whole idea of organized sports (he is only 3 after all). His first soccer practice was his first experience without me. It was the day before his first day of preschool and he was so nervous to go out onto the field without me. The coach thought he was doing a "pee pee" dance but it was really just his nervous mannerisms. His name could be heard all throughout the practice as she tried to get him to stay with the group and stay on task. He was a bit in the clouds (like his daddy).....it was so cute! He did score the first goal though!!! Go Z ;)
Each soccer practice he would show a little improvement but for the most part, I would sit on the sidelines and chuckle. Z (and many of the other kids) were each doing their own things. There were probably 2-3 children (the 4 year olds) who had a clue and would actually take the ball, dribble it to the correct goal and shoot. Meanwhile, the other 5-6 children were running each and every way, scoring on the wrong goal or laying down kicking their feet (that was Z) :) At one point Z started running (maybe he was skipping) in the opposite direction as the rest of his team. He was so happy in his own world and seemed bothered when the coach called his name and asked him to run the other way. He looked at her and his face seemed to say, "Lady, there is a cool red tractor mowing the lawn in this direction, way cooler than your soccer ball!"
At the end of the last practice, after I had almost peed my pants from laughing at the whole experience, the coach handed out medals. All of the kids took these medals (cheap plastic) and looked as if they had been given the best present ever. Z was so proud of his little medal and I took 6 pictures of him admiring it proudly. He couldn't wait to show his friends Z and M at our play date that afternoon and when daddy came home he wore it with such pride. It was so great!
So Thanks Dad! It is clear that Z might have some talent in sports but he is clearly not ready for for the organized program in the next town. I am so glad that I didn't call and plead my case that he was ready....it is so clear that he is not. This is why he will not be going to Kindergarten until he is age 6 :)