Today was registration for the Spring soccer season at our township's recreation department. Now, we've done this six times in the past -- twice a year since Big Guy was 4 years old. So really, not a big deal, right? We should be old hands at this! But, something's a bit different this time -- Big Guy is moving up to U8.
I am sure you're probably scratching your head and wondering why this is blog-worthy at all. But, if you're a parent, and especially a football-loving parent, this a pretty big deal.
The first season we played U6, it was basically everything a soccer team should be for a four-year-0ld. They had cute little t-shirts (not kits), they played on a field with orange cones as goals, and they basically all swarmed after the ball up and down the field like one big rugby scrum! It was unbearably cute, all the little preschoolers running, dancing, twirling, and falling down on the pitch -- basically doing anything but actually playing the ball. Positions? Pah - even the goalkeeper didn't stay in the goal. And you can forget about passing. Most of the children were stealing the ball from their own teammates! Big Guy was the epitome of all of this...and my husband and I thought -- will he ever be ready for the big leagues (U8)?
This last season for Big Guy was different though. Towards the end of the season, my little attention seeker had stopped running along the sidelines, waving to the crowd. No more was he on the opposite side of the pitch from the swarm of kids around the ball. He wasn't dancing anymore -- he was dribbling, and he was scoring. All of a sudden, it was like a light switch turned on in his mind. He knew what to do, and he was doing it.
I can't even begin to tell you what this means to my husband. He's been an avid football player his entire life, and still plays twice a week. He'll say, "Whatever the boys want to do, it's fine with me. As long as they're happy." But you can bet your bottom dollar that seeing the Big Guy in action as he scored his first goal -- his big old macho heart was just bursting with pride.
Who knows where our son's big epiphany came from...coaching from Dad? The fact that we watch Manchester United religiously every week on television with him? Brainwashing? Haven't a clue. All we know Big Guy is really starting to develop the skills he needs to match the passion he has in his heart. I can only imagine his excitement when he dons his numbered jersey for the very first time. The look on his face will be priceless and I can't wait. He may be only moving up to U8, but for him, this will be a dream come true.
(Now we just hope and pray for the same epiphany for Little Guy! :)