Ellie was insistent that she wanted to try soccer this Fall. As part of her school curriculum, once a week someone from a program called Happy Feet comes to the school and teaches the kids sport and motor skills through soccer, so many of her friends play on the local league. We signed her up.
Being a social butterfly, she loved hanging out with her friends. All of her teammates (except one) were from her school, and she thought it was great that she got to see them on Saturdays, too. Other classmates play at the same time on different teams, so it’s always a little party after practice each week.
However, we never got the sense that she really liked soccer all that much. She liked to run, sometimes prance, and occasionally would nudge the ball with her foot if it happened to be right in front of her. As her team was called the Orange Tigers, she preferred to run around the field growling at the other team.
Honestly, I think part of it is that the introduction of a “competitive” sport went against everything we had been teaching her for four years. Instead of sharing with other kids, in this setting we wanted her to aggressively take the ball from the other team even when they were playing with it.
Jeff and I found ourselves constantly trying to balance the knowledge that she’s only four years old—and it doesn’t really matter if she shows any specific aptitude in soccer—with frustration that she was so easily distracted and rarely participated more than running after the boys on her team.
Spencer, Ellie, Lucas, Auggie, Callum
This last Saturday was the final game of the season. If she chooses to continue playing soccer, they will start up again in the Spring.
During the first half she got hit in the tummy with a ball, which understandably, made her pretty grumpy. Jeff pulled her over and encouraged her to play and help because her team was counting on her. And, somehow, something clicked.
From Jeff’s Twitter feed:
She ended strong, received a “Winner” medal and a gift certificate to a candy store. We’ll see if her interest continues, but for now it’s been a good first exposure to kids’ sports for Jeff and I. Good going, Ellie!