IntrepidWoman's Journey

The Fake Out

Posted on: October 19, 2010

Today I drove 2 hours to watch a four-year old play soccer. It was Jack’s second time. The teams do drills for 45 minutes, then they play a short game.

He is a Timbit or something. They wear forest-green shirts with Tim Hortons on the front. The name is silkscreened on, but the numbers on the back of the shirts are not. You could tell whose moms had washed the shirts from the first week because their numbers had fallen off, including Jack’s. When queried, the moms whose kids still had numbers were not sure if they should be embarrassed because they had not washed the shirts after one wearing!

Everyone sits and gets their soccer shoes and knee-high socks on and gathers up their water bottles. When the coaches arrive, off they all go, down the hallway to the indoor field, while parents and assorted other visitors climb up into the bleachers to watch. We were far enough away that they could not see or hear us very well. I believe that is probably a good thing.

I remember when Jack’s dad played hockey at the age of seven and I sat right above where the team sat. The coach, Dave Liddell, at one point asked me to move somewhere else. “Mom, could you please move to another seat?”

David, who was the goalie, was experiencing interference by his mom hollering, “Fall on the ice! Fall on the ice!” when the coach was trying to direct some advice his way. From that day onward, when coach Dave and I would pass in the halls at ISS (we were both teachers there), he would greet me with, “Hi Mom!” to which I would respond, “Hi Son!” This went on for many years and puzzled students would stare at us every time.

I digress. We are at soccer, indoors and warm, not hockey, indoors and cold. The two coaches are changing the drills every few minutes to keep the kids’ attention. Unfortunately, they never did get Jack’s. He had a ball and he kicked it, rolled around on top of it with his legs and arms sticking out, stood on it at the side, talking to total strangers, and then set it down beside him while he draped his body over the movable divider between mini fields to have a drink from his water bottle.

The coach would periodically ask him to join the group, which he did occasionally, but only briefly. I was laughing so hard that I doubt I got one photo that is not blurry. It was like watching a “Who’s on first?” scene.

Ah, but then the game began. Both teams ran from end to end, kicking the ball and travelling in a pack of green and blue shirts. Jack laid on his back and looked up at the ceiling, raising his arms and legs, then stretched flat and remained motionless as the pack sailed past him with the ball being kicked along by several little feet.

The coach invited Jack to join a couple of times, but he was not interested, and then suddenly it happened. Jack noticed the pack at one end with the ball and he suddenly got up, jogged over, slipped a leg in to capture the ball and began running down the field, guiding it all the way to a goal. Both teams ran with him but everyone was kind of in shock, so there was little attempt to get the ball away from him. He scored, high-fived with the coach and wandered off to drape himself over the rubber divider again, pushing his bum into the air and his head down on the artificial turf.

I did not even get a photo of this momentous occurrence because I was standing and yelling, “Go Jack!”

This reminded me of a soccer game in Edmonton 10 years ago when a young (3) Tala Sutherland was a newbie at the game. As her dad Drew hollered, “Tala! Tala! Kick the ball! Kick the ball!” she noticed we had cameras and proceeded to pose for us. Kids were tripping over her to get the ball while she turned this way and that, smiling for the cameras. The good news, ten years later, is that she now plays competitive soccer and is extremely good at it!

I see that in Jack’s future. When he decided to play tonight, he was very good at it. I see fame and fortune ahead. Well, maybe just some good soccer playing with his family watching and cheering him on and many goals being scored.

Lyndsey, Jack and I went for pizza after the big game, with Jack sneaking extra black olives off the uneaten pieces. He had worked up quite an appetite at soccer practice tonight!

My two-hour drive home was warm and fuzzy with frequent grins and remembrances of several hugs before leaving Jack.  He is such a treasure!

I will always remember being there for his first goal! (Are they called ‘goals’ in soccer or is that just in hockey?)

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