Which after posting the first piece brings me to this second one. Tyler has been in soccer for about five weeks now. For someone who didn’t know squat about soccer, he’s really coming along well with it. He’s more of a natural defenseman than anything (“knock the ball out. get the guy with the ball. OK, now stand there and look at the grass”).
A few weeks ago one of the dads of my son’s teammate came to practice. I’m pretty sure he’s one of the gym teachers in the district, but I’m not sure which school. Anyhow while the kids were scrimmaging with the other team, he cracks out the whistle and starts calling tons’o penalties on the first graders.
First graders. The kids who just two weeks earlier were at the reasoning point of understanding the ball is NOT edible. Now, we’re calling offsides, tripping, illegal defense, you name it. Not more than 40 seconds would pass by without the whistle going off and the kids looking confused and wondering “Do I get to kick the ball again?”.
Thankfully, that was the first and last practice he did that at (after I made some jokes to the coach about bringing whips and chains to the next practice for the kids who got more than two penalties). Well, I started to talk to him about the game last week. He was riding his son to go after the ball (which he was, at the typical speed a first grader does. stop, slow, stop). This went on for a bit when he started complainnig the referees weren’t calling anything. I just couldn’t take it anymore and blurted out “It’s first grade!! This isn’t the All-England Cup. Let them have fun!”. He pretty much got miffed and said we had to be hard on these kids and they would understand the rules and eventually play really well.
I remember playing baseball when I was a kid. There were kids on my team that wanted to be the next Carlton Fisk or George Brett. And there were the parents who rode them pretty hard to play better, not make mistakes, etc. And there was me, who enjoyed standing out in right field looking at the grass and striking out my required one time at bat. I always wondered who had more fun…

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