I love the uniforms for the 3-year-olds: the jerseys go to their knees, the shorts go to their ankles, and the socks go their bellies.
After sitting through six seasons of his big brother's soccer games, it's finally time for Tate to get a chance.
I decided to coach his team this season. (I figure my lack of soccer skills doesn't really matter when they're this young.) It's been a while since I've coached the three-year olds. Here's how it goes:
- We start with some stretching which, at this age, just means touching toes and jumping up and down. A few kids follow along; most just stare at me blankly. A few kids cry.
- Before we start the game, we huddle together to do a cheer. It takes about 3 minutes to successfully say "Go Black Fire!" (Tate chose the name.)
- The game starts and it takes a few more minutes and some prodding before the kids realize they need to kick the ball.
- It takes about just as long for about a third of the kids to start crying.
- I substitute a few kids out, but the kids I try to bring in don't really want to come in,
- By half-time, about half the kids are crying.
- A little while later, Tate scores a goal and I, as a coach, am objectively pleased (and as a Dad, incredibly proud--that's my boy!)
- After half-time, instead of leaving a few kids on the sideline, I bring them all in, realizing that attrition will quickly take its toll as kids decide they're thirsty or hungry or they want to play with their little brother or pet their dog.
- Throughout the entire second half, a little girl cries and tells me she just wants to go the playground; I tell her that her mom will totally take her after the game.
And then the game ends and it feels like we've narrowly survived the battle.
But then something magical happens.
Somehow, a lukewarm Capri Sun and a bag of smiley face fruit snacks makes it all worth it.
And we live to fight another day.