Super Soccer Star (?)

It's almost Sunday, which means another morning soccer game for Noah. When we signed him up to play, I spun fantasies of sunny Sunday mornings with the whole family at the soccer field with our lawn chairs and coffee, Sam in the stroller happily watching his big brother run and play, Noah learning teamwork and footwork and getting better and better every week. The reality? Noah HATES soccer.

The first week he was totally overwhelmed, but I figured he was just not used to having to play on a team, not used to being around kids that are bigger and faster than him, and just plain not used to the game, in general. The second week he kept walking off the field and saying he was hungry. The third week he just stood in the middle of the field and watched as the other kids ran in a herd, chasing the ball to every corner of the field. He didn't even try to get near the ball. And now it's the fourth week, and he's saying he just does NOT want to go. He's not flat-out refusing...yet. But it's only Thursday. I have a feeling that come Saturday, there's going to be an all out battle.

My husband thinks we should just let him drop out. That he's too young, that it was a mistake to sign him up on a team with 4 and 5 year olds, that it's a waste of time for him and therefore, for us. But I'm not so sure. I mean, what message does it send if he doesn't like something and we just let him drop it? We paid money for him to be on the team, and his teammates are counting on him (well, in theory they are counting on him -- it's not like any of them are really staying in their positions anyway!) And letting him drop out just seems to send a bad message.

But truth be told, this whole thing is like history repeating itself. My parents signed me up for soccer when I was little, because my dad loved the game and was so good at it. And I wanted to do gymnastics instead. So my solution to the problem was to stand on the soccer field and turn cartwheels instead of playing in the soccer game. Guess this stuff must be inherited - Noah's not turning cartwheels, but he's definitely not playing in the soccer game, either!

So I can't really blame him for not wanting to play. And it's an important lesson for me, as a parent, too - that just because you want your children to take part in something doesn't mean they're going to like to, or want to. I guess this is Noah's first step toward becoming his own person - deciding on his likes and dislikes and on what he does and doesn't want to do or be. Which, of course, is a great thing - soccer or no soccer!

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