Saturday, May 03, 2008

First soccer game

Due to the snow a couple of weeks ago, and then last week's trip to Calgary, today was Fiona's first soccer game. She's the second youngest, a pre-K kid on a team that supposedly covers kids from KG to Grade 2 but is actually mostly KG/G1. And she's the tiniest. It doesn't matter.

Unlike my older kids, Fiona's introvert/extrovert compass swings somewhere in the middle, rather than way off to the left. While the other kids wake up in the morning and ask "do we have to go anywhere today?" Fiona asks "where can we go today?" When she was invited to her first birthday party, she asked if I could please drop her off so that she could be there by herself. And when we went to soccer practice for the first time she enthusiastically ran into the huddle with a bunch of bigger kids she'd never met and a coach she didn't know from Adam.

So it was game day today. The chaos of games with 5 to 7-year-olds is always fun. Parental expectations are mostly very realistic. No one keeps score, and we cheer for the other team too and we laugh at the muddled play of our own kids. It's very much a fun league at this age. Few of the kids understand much more than that the idea is to get the ball through those pylons down there. Some don't quite get that. Whatever.

Fiona's soccer skills are pretty average for a newly-5yo kid. But miraculously, though she's brand new to all this, she's unafraid of all those strapping six and seven-year-olds. She gets the idea of going after the ball and digging it away from another player (but only when the opposition has it!). She is a wonder to watch -- tiny and scrappy and grinning and having the time of her life.

She also takes her coach's instructions very seriously. He thinks she is amazing -- so enthusiastic yet also attentive to guidance. Sometimes to a fault. Today part way through the game she misunderstood his instruction that "you play down this line" to mean she needed to stand on the right line. It was only after the coach (not myself, not another mom) encouraged her to "go after the ball, Fiona!" that she became unglued from the sideline.

She was jubilant about today's game. This is exactly as it should be.

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