Saturday, September 29, 2012

Team Dynamo

What happens when you have six kids, ages four to six, most have never played soccer, and had only one practice two days before? You get complete, absolute, laugh your butt off chaos.  SS participated in her first soccer game today. Games are on Saturdays, and that means that P won't be able to attend. I was glad that SS woke up before P left for work, a rarity. P got her out of bed, brought her to our room, and we had ten minutes of cuddle time. SS had her first practice last Thursday, and I was not sure that she would want to play after the first game. As usual she is the smallest, and terribly uncoordinated. Halfway through practice I noticed that SS was beyond frustrated about her inability to get to the ball. We talked to her about the importance of tenacity, that as long as she tried, we could not care less if her foot ever hit the ball, we just want her to keep trying. During the drive to the park I told SS that her small size was an advantage. She looked at me skeptically and asked why. I told her that her size allows for greater speed, and that she can sneak into positions the larger kids can't. I then crossed my fingers I prayed that it would help.

When we arrived at the field, Coach K's wife (and team mom) said "You must be SS. My husband made me set aside a small shirt, and told me not to give it to anyone but SS. He said she was tiny." Yep, been there, done that, hear that all the time. Still, it was very thoughtful of him to make sure SS did not end up with a medium shirt that would drag mid lower leg.

Only six kids showed up, and that meant that every child played for the 40-45 minutes, under Southern California sun. I was surprised that SS did not walk off the field. I was nervous when Coach K chose SS to kick off the game. I was thinking, dude, weren't you at practice barely two days ago? I was nervous for SS, and even more nervous about my daughter being stampeded by much larger kids. I am glad that SS is with Coach K. He really seems to be the type that is coaching because he enjoys the chaos that kids bring. And although his son is the best player on the team, he praises every effort every child makes. The opposing team had hard core coaches, and even more hard core, wanna be athlete parents. Don't recall when was the last time I witnessed so many wanna be athletes in one place.

SS managed to connect a few times with the ball, albeit briefly. The majority of the time she was aimlessly running around, making Super Hero faces and poses, and all around a space cadet. I was a tad embarrassed at her lack focus. Then Coach K came up to me and said, "I am so enjoying SS. Every time she chases after the ball she laughs. It's so cute, she's just precious." HUH? You talking about my kid?  That made me appreciate him even more. Then again, the man has two sons.

Team Dynamo lost 3-0, but what really mattered was how SS felt. I don't think she had a clue that they lost. She was very excited about playing her first soccer game, and asked me if I took "many and many and many" pictures and videos for her Baba. She's very proud of herself, as she should be. Because between all the worries about SS's safety, and among the laughter about watching twelve kids stumbling and bungling things, I had a few moments to contemplate how blessed we are.  Given SS's origins, her state when we met, it was such an amazing thrill to watch her running around and just trying. Given what I know, it's just unbelievable that she was simply there, and more unbelievable that she kept up. But in the same way that JJ did not know about his heart murmur until he was old enough to process the information, we won't be bringing SS down with that information for now. We are just going to enjoy each and every thing she was not supposed to be able to do.

Pre-game practice.

And she kicks off the first game.

SS loves sport drinks, and Gat0rade happens to be her favorite.

SS's idea of guarding the goal area.  In her defense, she thought was that if the ball came really low, she would be in a good position to intercept.

Do you see SS way back there? She stopped to look at I have no idea what on her elbow.

Super Hero pose.

Her Super Hero running stance.

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