Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Soccer Games: Three, Four, And Five

We were a little bit late to Preston's third soccer game. I don't even know what happened, we just could not get out the door in time. And even worse it was our snack day. So not only were we already running late but we had to stop to pick up snack too!

And of course that was the game that everyone showed up to. My parents. Siblings. Grandparents. No big deal.

Fortunately we were only like ten minutes late and the game ended up starting late so we didn't miss a lot.

Just gave my family a chance to really give me a hard time about how I am late for everything.

With the crowd on the sidelines Preston was very distracted.  And not very focused on the game.

He did still manage to score five goals.  Not to shabby!

This was the game where the crazy competitor in me came out a little too much, particularly for a five year old's soccer game.  There was a kid on the other team that kept laying down in front of the ball every time we were about to score.  Seriously, it happened like ten times.  And I was over it.  It was poor sportsmanship and he did it completely intentionally each time knowing that it would stop the game so that he wouldn't get hurt.  A couple of times he actually reached out and grabbed the ball while he was on the ground.  At the end of the game I'd had enough.  Preston was heading down to score and just as he was about to kick it in, the kid did it AGAIN!  I was pissed.  And before I knew what was coming out of my mouth I started to yell, "Kick him..."  And then caught myself and stopped.  I was just done.  The kid was putting his face where the ball was and I was tired of that meaning that our team didn't score and the whole game was stopped and knowing that the kid knew that would happen.  Not my finest moment.  Oops.

This was also the game where we really began to be over soccer.  Preston's coach just wasn't involved and it was so frustrating to us.  Even more so because she had told all of the parents that as the coach she needed to be in charge and the kids had to know that so she wanted us to back off.  I am all for that.  I believe that in sports the players should listen and follow the coach.  But that means the coach has to actually coach and that wasn't happening here.

I mean practices were like twenty minutes long...maybe.  And then the games were an hour.  Hmmmm...that makes a ton of sense.  Or not.

No matter how much we worked with Preston at home and talked to him about soccer none of it mattered when he got to practice and the games and his coach was actively uninvolved but also didn't want the parents to step in.

This was really evident by game four.

Preston had gone from really excited about soccer and totally involved in the whole game at the first two games, to not caring.  The team wasn't really practicing and the coach wasn't encouraging or correcting behavior on the field.  I mean in this game the other team's coach was giving her pointers by the end of it.

Preston looked cute though, so there is that.

It was just tough to watch Preston get worse and worse with each game when he should have been getting better!  It wasn't just that he was playing worse either, he was enjoying it less too. And frustrating to Brad and I to see this. Plus all of the bad habits that he was learning that he hadn't gone in with.  For example at the first game he played his little heart out and told us he never gets tired.  Which is true, he really doesn't.  By this game he was taking a water break every few minutes.  Why?  Because the coach would call water breaks for the whole team every few minutes.  At the first game wherever the ball was Preston was.  At this game he was spinning in circles because that's what the rest of the team was doing and the coach didn't care.

The fifth game wasn't any better.

Practice was cancelled before this game.  The kids are playing worse and worse so we cancel practice.  That makes complete sense!  Or not.

Which meant that all of the kids hadn't practiced since the game the week before.

We were down a player at the start of this game too since for some reason we had started with less players than all of the other teams.  And then two of our players dropped out after the first couple of games.  And at this game one of our players left at half time, so then we were down two players for the second half.  Meaning we had to borrow players from the other team.  It was confusing to the kids on both teams.

I had coach envy this go around.  The other team's coach was AWESOME!  The kids played great and knew what was going on and he was there every step of the way with them encouraging them when they had great plays or scored and correcting when mistakes were made.  He also told our coach that the kids had JUST started playing and didn't need a water break already and that they took water breaks at the end of each quarter.  I mean the quarters were only ten minutes long maybe so that wasn't crazy.  I might have told Brad several times over that I wished Preston had been on that team instead.

Preston was completely uninterested in this entire game.  It was hard to watch and remember how awesome he played the first game and to see how all of that focus and hope for what he wanted from soccer had disappeared.  

After this game I talked to my Dad about how frustrating it was that Preston's playing seemed to get worse with every single game.  My Dad played sports his entire life so he was definitely someone who's opinion I wanted.   He agreed with me that Preston was getting worse and worse.  And that a lot of the problem was the lack of participation from his coach.  That she couldn't tell the parents that she wanted to be in control of the team and then not actually do that.  I also told him that I was worried that some of the habits that he was making were going to be really hard to break once he'd learned them.  And he agreed.

We left this game completely frustrated.

The following weekend we had plans for the train ride.  We'd arranged it just right so that Preston could play his game and then we could hurry home to change and then head out to ride the train.  That was the plan.  Until his coach texted me cancelling practice.  Again.

I'd finally been pushed far enough with this whole thing and was done.  Brad and I talked about it and decided that we were done with soccer.  We weren't going to force Preston to play when he wasn't having fun anymore because there was no direction.  So we told Preston that soccer was over and that we'd forgotten to tell him that the last game he'd played was the last game of the season.  I then texted the coach back and told her that we weren't going to be able to make the game because we had family plans.

We talked to Preston about sports and which ones he wanted to play and asked him if he wanted to keep playing or not.  He told us that he liked soccer but that he wanted to play another time and with a different team.  And it was decided that we wouldn't sign up with this league again, ever.

The reality is that kids need direction.  They need encouragement.  They need to be told when there is a better way to do something.  Especially in sports.  They need an active participant to point these things out.  That person is called the coach!  We were seriously lacking in that department.  And it was a major disappointment to all of us.

Preston has decided to do basketball next.  And this time we are signing up with the YMCA since we have had great experiences with them and their programs in the past.  They have a soccer program too so I think we'll give that one a try to if Preston wants too.  Right now it's just a relief for all of us to be done with this league and this experience and to move on.

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