Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Super Star

The first year that Emma played soccer, she was terrified. She wouldn't touch the ball during the games and most of the time, she wouldn't even make an effort to look like she was even pretending to be playing. Knowing that her fears were part of her bent toward perfectionism and that she wouldn't ever enjoy something until she was at least a little bit good at it, I made an ultimatum. She had to play for two more years and then she could decide if she ever wanted to play again or not.

The second year, we figured out that she wouldn't just play soccer without some parameters. So we told her that she should try to kick the ball 10 times during each game. It worked like a charm. She'd run right into the bunch, kick the ball lightly- right back into the bunch- and then look at us to make sure that we saw what she did. A big improvement but she still didn't like playing.

This year (her final year if she so chooses), she has some super stars on her team so she's convinced herself that they don't really need her on the team "because I'm not very good at scoring goals." Even though I've explained that there's more to soccer than scoring goals (I was a defender in my past life and in 12 years of playing soccer I only scored like twice), she's not convinced that it's worth her while to show up to the games. With lots of encouragement from her wonderful coaches, and a healthy bribe from her parents (treats for lots of contact with the ball and an ice cream sundae for a goal), she has been becoming a little bit more aggressive and trying to be a part of the action. For the first few games she had no problem earning treats for touching the ball, but this past Saturday, she earned this:
My baby girl scored a goal!!!!!!! 

[And I may have caused Stella to lose hearing from my screaming so loud!]

Seriously, after more than two years of dragging her to practice and games and trying to convince her to at least try her best, we had all but given up hope that she would enjoy playing sports. And I was [kind of] okay with that. But now that she has scored, oh man, oh man is she into soccer! She's been practicing in our yard every day and saying that she's going to score more goals every week. For her dad's birthday on Saturday, she's going to score 5...

She's still not sure if she'll play again after this year, but at least she's enjoying herself!

On another note, what's the deal with parents not cheering for their kids anymore?! Seriously, I'm all about obnoxious cheering, but most of the parents just sit and watch quietly and clap a little bit when their kid scores. I mean, people are encouraging and all, but I guess at some point in the past decade it has become un-cool to cheer wildly and loudly for your team. Lucky for us, we never were cool to begin with so we aren't ruining our reputation or anything ;)