August 31, 2010
After bowing out of soccer last year, Nicholas has made his return to the field. He had already decided he was done after his 6th grade year, mainly because he thought chances of him making the junior high soccer team weren't all that strong. Although he's strong and has a pretty powerful kick, he simply doesn't have the speed of some of his counterparts. He loves playing and being a part of the team, but he's not particularly competitive, and he figured that would probably end his career. When he broke his foot just before last year's soccer season, even the idea of trying to coax him into trying out became a moot point, and we accepted that his last year of elementary school was his swan's song.
This year, though, when I was looking online to find registration information for Danielle, I discovered that there was a recreational league for boys Nicholas' age and up. I hadn't realized that there was an alternative to the school teams, so I casually mentioned it to Nicholas. His eyes immediately lit up, and he said, "THAT sounds like fun!" It turns out, he really missed it, but was still intimidated by the idea of not making the cut for the team. "Rec. league means everybody gets to play, right?" When I assured him he would be able to play if he wanted, he quickly asked me to register him. Just like that, my boy was a soccer player again.
This past Thursday at practice, Nicholas' coach informed us that the first game would take place on Saturday in Hanford. Hanford?? That's almost an hour away! When I registered Nicholas, I asked about the location for the team and was told they would be either at the park a block away from my house or on the fields by my school. Perfect, I thought. Soccer season would be easy! But no. What I discovered was that the practices would be held at those local fields, but that our boys would be playing teams from neighboring cities, and often our games would necessitate drives of half an hour to an hour. Had I know that, knowing also that I will have to get Danielle to her local games once her season begins, I might not have been so hasty to sign him up. I'm glad I did, because Nicholas gets so much out of being on the team, but my goodness, it's going to get tricky trying to manage in two different cities each week. Different fields is hard enough! Nevertheless, I tried not to think too hard about the logistical issues in the coming weeks and just focused on watching Nicholas play his first real game in two years.
At the beginning of the game, Nicholas was on the sidelines, cheering on his teammates. Then suddenly, Coach gave him the signal and he ran out to the field...to forward. Forward? Seriously? Nicholas had never been a forward! His position of choice was goalie. He spent a good deal of time at defender as well, and even at mid-fielder every now and again. But forward? That was definitely new. And yet, in his handful of minutes in the position, he managed to make a goal assist. Then he was pulled off the field to get ready to go in as goalie, where he make several very impressive saves before the final whistle. Our kids came out victorious with a final score of 4-1. It was a very exciting game!
After the game, we took advantage of the locale and headed to the famous Superior Dairy, where we met up with Kim and Tim and their kids to indulge in some unbelievably huge servings of ice cream. Nicholas and Chris took on the ultimate challenge of the S.O.S. dish, and they attacked it with fierce tenacity. Those two peas in a pod devoured the S.O.S. with gusto, stopping only occasionally to temper the effects of the inevitable 'brain freeze.'It was a bit of a long day, but Nicholas' first game of the season did wonders to build the self-esteem of Nicholas and all the boys on the team. And if a game in Hanford every few weeks means we get to visit with the Harrison clan AND get to end the afternoon with ice cream, well, it seems like there are worse ways to spend a Saturday.
New Beginning 1064
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