A few weeks ago Ashley and I were randomly searching for any sports or activities that we could get Noah into. We happened to find a soccer club (run by the town recreation department) that was starting the following day. We asked Noah about it and he said he wanted to play soccer, so we managed to work a little magic and get him squeezed in.
So, we went there the next evening. We brought Charlotte with us and Ashley’s mom decided to tag along as well. When we first got there we got a soccer ball and Noah and I kicked it around the gym, just like the other little kids and their parents did. Ashley, her mom, and Charlotte sat on the bleachers against one wall with several others. Noah seemed to enjoy kicking the ball around with me and actually did better than I thought he would.
After a few minutes the instructors called us all to the middle of the gym. The kids all sat in a circle around the instructors. Noah requested I let him sit on my lap, so I was the biggest kid in the circle. The class was made up of about 20 kids ranging from three to five years of age. Noah was three and a half years old, but he’s pretty tall so he looks older than his age.
The guys in charge explained that the kids would be split into four groups and they would take turns going to four different stations within the gym. Those would involve basic soccer skills such as passing, dribbling, shooting, throwing, and stopping the ball. After each group finished their last station the kids would all play Red Light, Green Light or another game like that to finish off the hour. That sounded simple enough. Adult participation was mandatory, so each child would be playing in their station with their parent or guardian. It was very similar to the sports program Noah participated in over the summer, except that was broader and dealt with several sports where this focused solely on soccer skills.
Everything went pretty well that first day. Noah went through each of the stations with me. We passed his soccer ball back and forth and kicked it against the gym wall. But at each station he requested taking a break after a few minutes. He wanted to stop participating and go visit with his mom, sister, and grandma. He did it each time. I don’t know if he was tired, bored, sick, or just didn’t want to play soccer anymore. He seemed more interested in sitting on the bleachers on the side of the gym. At the end of the hour he went back out and played Red Light, Green Light. However, the only way he would do it was if Ashley ran with him.
So, his first day at soccer went alright, but certainly not great. I hoped that each week he would improve and get more interested in playing. The opposite is what actually occurred.
Noah missed the second week of soccer, because he was sick. There are only six weekly sessions in total so he was already one third done at that point. The following week I was sick, so Ashley took Noah, while Charlotte and I stayed home. Ashley told me afterward that Noah only lasted about a half hour before he wanted to leave. At the time I thought that sounded a little crazy. I mean I know he wanted to sit and take a few breaks the first day, but leaving altogether halfway through? That seemed excessive. He didn’t even get to play Red Light, Green Light.
The next week I took Noah to soccer. It started out pretty well. In the beginning we were able to kick the ball around freely, like the first time I was there. After about two minutes he wanted to take a break to sit on the bleachers. We had just arrived! We went back out shortly and played some more then we went to the middle of the gym with all the others. Soon we started the week’s soccer stations.
Our first station consisted of me passing the soccer ball to Noah. He was supposed to stop it with his foot before kicking it into a small soccer net. He scored on his first try. I told him “Great Job!” He said he was ready for a break. I told him that’s crazy. Let’s kick a few more times first. So, we continued for a few more minutes. He kept saying he wanted a break to sit on the bleachers.
We took a break together for a few minutes and then when the instructor blew his whistle and told everyone to switch stations we got up and moved to the next one. Noah practiced throw-ins. He raised his soccer ball over his head with two hands and threw it forward. He landed his first one in a hula hoop on the gym floor, which was the goal. The next few bounced in. I tried to give him tips to throw it farther, but he struggled. I managed to have him continue throwing the ball without getting too bored, but then the instructor asked the kids at the station to start running around the cones in a follow-the-leader fashion. Well, Noah did not want to do that at all. In fact, he started crying and told me he wanted to go home. I didn’t want him to be upset or have to do something silly that he really didn’t want to do so I said, “OK, let’s go home buddy.”
I’m not sure yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Noah’s last appearance at soccer. If that’s the case it’s a shame. Not because we paid for it, but because I was hoping Noah would really enjoy going and playing. He just doesn’t seem to like soccer. I don’t know if it’s just soccer, or if he would feel the same way about any sport or organized activity at this age. I mean he is only three and a half years old. If he doesn’t enjoy soccer it’s certainly not the end of the world. So, if he doesn’t want to go anymore what’s the point in making him go and suffer through it?
I played soccer when I was a kid. I was at least a few years older than Noah is now. I played in the Young America Soccer Club (like most kids at the time) for four years. I was bad. How bad was I? Well I scored a half of a goal in my four years of playing. Yep, me and a short girl kicked the ball at the same time and it went in. It probably had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t any good, but I did not especially enjoy soccer. The best part of soccer was going to Dairy Queen for ice cream afterward. So, maybe Noah gets that from me. Either way, if he doesn’t like it I don’t want him to have to keep going. I just hope he finds something that he