The theme this week is soccer. It is an actual theme......unlike the declaration by my former boss that the theme of the library Christmas party was silver. I would say, "Yes, I know you want the colors at the party to be silver, but that is not your theme. Your theme is supposed to be topical. Like "A Dickensian Christmas" or "Glamor and Glitz at the Library!" She hated me with a silver heat. Who's going to go to a library Christmas party, anyway? You can't even have food and drink in there. She also corrected me whenever I pronounced the "th" sound at the end of the words twelfth and fifth; I guess in Nort Dakota, it's just a hard "t" sound. Like "twelft." And "fift." I decided to let that one go.
Anyway, the theme this week is soccer. I've learned a lot about my child watching him play soccer. I've learned a lot about why I want him to play soccer. I didn't give a fat rat about soccer before, and truthfully, I still don't......not in the way most people think. What happens on the field has a completely different meaning for me now. I no longer worry that he's not good. I no longer worry that he doesn't know where to go and that he doesn't know how to dribble and that he doesn't understand all the directions shouted at him from the sidelines and that he kicks the ball into his own goal. He looks like a string bean in comparison to all these mini powerhouses whose short legs move like bike wheels; they move with the speed and agility of adults but they still watch cartoons. It's weird. Any one of them could beat me in a race around the block (or cul-de-sac, as it were).
But none of that worries me anymore. Because when a teammate gets knocked to the ground and starts to cry, Liam abandons his post (post? position? whatever.) and runs over to help the boy. He puts his hand on his back and talks to him quietly. Coaches and teammates are yelling at him to get back to his place but he doesn't hear them. Instead, he gently helps the boy up and walks him over to the coaches, his arm cradling the boy's back.
And in that moment, I don't care if he's doing it wrong. He's so obviously caring for his teammate, who isn't even a friend of his, when every other boy is completely oblivious. They are only 9 and the ball is in play so we can't expect much more of them; it would be like telling your husband that you really need to share some feelings with him during the Superbowl.
But my kid wasn't oblivious. And I feel more proud about that single event, and what it means, than if he had won the Olympics.
After the game, I tell I am proud of him. I'm proud of how he knew someone was hurting and that he dropped everything to help and how he was so gentle and provided so much comfort........and I can't even finish without my voice cracking.
Screw soccer. I just saw the future.