Last night I watched 4- and 5-yr olds play soccer. My dad had suggested that it would probably be like watching the tail of a kite. Aside from the whining ("I'm too hot"), the bored goalie sticking his head through the net and laying down on the ground once in a while, kids taking their own timeouts to run to the side of the field to get a drink of water or say hi to mom, some tears (only from my nephew), and a lot of yelling "you're going the wrong way!", I was actually quite impressed with their skills. They were kicking, dribbling, running, scoring, knocking each other over and getting right back up...not bad. But my nephew had a rough game (note that the game was about 15-minutes long). After playing goalie during last week's game, my nephew had apparently forgotten that when you're not the goalie, you can't use your hands. So early in the game, he decided to pick up the ball while he was playing defense. The ref blew the whistle and the coach (his dad, my brother-in-law) reminded him that he can't use his hands...the tears started flowing and his game was pretty much over. He came to the sideline and informed me and his uncle that he didn't want to play soccer anymore. I then found out just how difficult it is to give a pep talk to a sensitive 4-yr old. He eventually went back out on the field, but mostly just to lean against the goal post for the remainder of the game. A few teammates even tried to cheer him up, but he wasn't having any of it. After the game, I asked him what it was going to take to get him to play soccer without crying (he's 2 for 2 now)- his pouty response was simply "I want to play goalie". I then tried to explain that him and his teammates all need to play different positions, and that didn't go over so well. He cheered up a bit when he got refueled with his post-game snacks (Teddy Grahams and Gatorade), so before I left, I figured I'd give it another shot and we had the following conversation:
Me: So are you going to be playing soccer again next week?
Him: I don't know.
Me: You really don't want to play?
Him (in a very sassy voice): I said 'I don't know'...but I didn't say 'no'.
Me: Alright then, I best be going now. How about we have this conversation again in 14 yrs or so?
Kids these days.