Although my dad was the Phys. Ed. teacher at our school, I just didn't take to sports. I had an overly developed sense of responsibility in team sports, always worrying that I'd be the one that screwed up. I was very self-conscious. I also had undiagnosed (till I was 10) exercise-induced asthma. Living in a small town, sports go by the season...in winter, there's hockey, curling, and skiing. In summer, there's softball, swimming, and soccer. For me, summer meant climbing up in a tree and reading endlessly.
Our local soccer program is just terrific. Herds of kids crowd the field in what we affectionately call "Daisy Pickers Soccer". There are enough balls for each kid to have one, and sometimes they participate in drills. Sometimes they climb on the goal posts or study the flora on the soccer pitch (hence the nickname).
This is our first year participating with our older kids, and to my surprise, I find myself wanting to go and watch every week. In addition to visiting with other parents, I have discovered the joy of watching this tempermental child of mine thriving in an athletic setting. She participates without complaint for the whole hour, and thanks her coaches when it's done.
Coach Mike warms the kids up.
We call her Spaghetti Legs (no, not to her face!), with a slight fear she might get them tangled up one day.
Listening to Coach Paul.
Her focus amazes me.
Coach Daddy (having spent his early childhood in England) gets into the fun.
Jude winds up for a mighty kick!
I love this little nerd so darn much!
It is at this point in parenting that I am coming to recognise my children as independent of me. Their relationship is their own, and I know that these are the days they'll remember; their summers will begin to blur together in what I hope will be a happy collage of swimming, camping, wrestling on the grass, sports that they love, and that ultimate gift of childhood: being carefree.
Violet pins Jude, who seems happy to be pinned. We know this isn't technically allowed in soccer.
Ah, the scent of new-mown grass.
These are the days.