Sunday was the last soccer day for my daughter for a while. With rain-outs and us out of town once, we actually have a few make-up sessions, but we are switching over to swimming in the winter. I have been so happy that my daughter has taken to soccer; it was my favorite sport as a kid, and it gives her a chance to get some good exercise.
Swimming was something I never thought of as exercise or as a sport when I was a kid. Obviously, millions of dollars are spent in crafting Olympic careers, but those brief moments of fame for others cannot compete, for me, with the memories of swimming in rivers during the middle of a Midwestern heat wave, the memories of floating up and down with waves in the remote Cape Hatteras of yesteryear, or the memories of swimming in the open Mediterranean while on a foolish adventure with random stranger I had recently met. My comfort with water and swimming made all of these and more possible. I didn’t think twice about jumping into water (with all the safety and visibility rules in play).
As much as my daughter has enjoyed soccer, I hope she also gets comfortable with water. It opens up more than half the world to her.
Sunday was soccer again. Coach Nathan and Coach Bill were as chipper and welcoming again, and after much home coaching about engaging in the soccer class, my daughter was able to be independent after a few tears and our ritual five hugs and three kisses. I was able to leave her there which is better for her and for me. She gets much more out of her experiences when not looking over her shoulder for a parent, and I am not stuck trying to not make her distracted. I am pretty confident that next week will be very smooth. It also didn’t hurt that there were three more girls in the class.
During dinner on Wednesday, my daughter described the day’s soccer experience. She has been attending the same camp this week that she did earlier in the summer, and after initial disappointment at having a new coach, she has been having a blast. Evidently the coach had the four children play a game against him. Little did he know that soccer was about to have a host of new rules.
“We pulled the boats while he swam,” was the clue that the game had turned slightly imaginative. That was followed by, “Then when he pulled the boats we tried to hide the balls.”
I can guess that the small, portable, pop-up goals might have been the boats, but how they became that or how “swimming” was integrated into the game is up for grabs. All I know is that my daughter is having a blast being physical, learning soccer, and being her amazing imaginative self.
My daughter is wrapping up a week of soccer camp which met for two hours in the morning each day. I dropped her off on Monday, and I was a little trepidatious about my daughter’s first reaction to this new experience. Her first encounter with her music teacher earlier in the summer included crying, screaming, and me having to walk out as she cried and hiccuped through, “Good bye, Daddy. I am going to help the teacher.” She was right as rain as soon as I left, but the parting is not a fun experience for either of us.
Coach Katie, however, made all the difference in the world. She has a wonderful rapport with my daughter which led to immediate bonding. I couldn’t ask for a better experience. Here is an athletic, cheerful woman being a role model and teaching my daughter to love exercise. It doesn’t hurt that it is soccer, one of my all time favorite sports.
I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to getting my daughter into playing soccer. I played through elementary and middle school and then again in senior year in high school. I thing the game is one of the best out there. We even have a small soccer ball. Yet, I have not gone out and kicked it around with her. My best friend growing up lived on my street, and we played soccer constantly. She went on to play in college, and I am sure still plays. Coach Katie reminds me a bit of her, and if that is something my daughter can learn, I’ll be the happiest dad.
Now that I am nearing the end of my school year, the summer stretches in front of the family. We are all on an academic schedule, so the summer offers the chance to change things up, but I find if there is no schedule, I don’t get to the things I want to. I also think the kids benefit from comfort of a routine, and that routine can be broken as needed.
There are some built in scheduled things for all of us. My daughter is attending a music class for a week, a soccer camp for a week, and her school for a week. On top of that, my wife and I have committed to getting the kids in the pool often. My son has a standing care day with our nanny share. I will have a professional development week in NYC, and my wife may also have a similar experience coming up really soon.
We have scheduled two trips to see family.
Amongst all that, we hope to take family adventures in the area to the beach and to hiking places. We hope to try out camping. We have lots of hopes. My wife and I have a long list of projects we would like to tackle.
Blink. The summer will be over! I remember as a kid thinking the summer lasted for a long time, and I remember when that perspective changed. Maybe it correlated with how school changed.