Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Almost Soccer Camp Drop Out

One of our summer bucket list items this year was for Pierce to go to soccer camp.  My Mom took him to pick up all his soccer gear - some cleats, shin guards, shorts, and a soccer ball (thanks Cat Cat and Pop Pop!).  Pierce was all ready.  Or so we thought.
 Like the other moms, I dropped him off on the first day and headed out to run some errands.  After all, that's what I'd done the week before at Vacation Bible School, and Pierce had a grand time.  It does feel a little weird just dropping your kid off, but you just trust that he's in good hands.  

Soccer camp runs from 9-11, and I was done with my errands and back to watch at 10:30.  What I discovered was alarming.  Little 4 year olds running around and having a fine time, with Pierce lying on the grass, face-down, in the middle of the field.  What was wrong with him?  Should I walk down and intervene?  I watched, my heart sinking further with dread with each moment.  Eventually another little boy came by and patted him on the head.  Pierce sat up, but slumped down and didn't participate with the other children for the rest of the time.  I wanted to go grab him into my arms and give him a hug - or at least a pep talk.  But I didn't.

When it was over, I asked him how it went.  He said, "I don't like soccer camp."  He proceeded to tell me that he didn't like the goalie throwing the ball at him, and that a boy in a yellow jersey was mean.  I said, "Okay.  What can we do to make it better for tomorrow?  I want to make you feel good about going back."  We agreed that Pierce would give it just one more day, and that if it wasn't better he could quit after that.  I realized in retrospect that I never showed him what a game of soccer was like - that he went into this totally unprepared for the mentality of group sports.

So the next day we went back to camp.  I had promised Pierce that this time Cort and Reid and I would be there the whole time.  We wouldn't leave, but we'd stay way up on the hill so that he could have his space.  However, if he felt alone or scared he could look up and know that we were there, that we wanted to watch him kick the ball and play with his friends!

So Reid and Cort played in the Memory Garden.

And they worked the registration table.
 And from time to time we peeked down the hill to see what Pierce was up to.
We were excited to see him kick the ball a few times!
The coaches tried harder to involve him in things, and although he dragged his feet a lot he was participating.

I'm glad that Pierce was able to stick it out.  The Tiger Mom I am not, but I'm also glad I didn't jump in to intervene, even though it was hard not to.  I think sometimes, we have to find our independence on our own, even if it's a hard route to go.
Each day got a little better for Pierce, he decided to continue going, and he had warmed up to soccer much more by the end of the week.
Come next year, he'll know what to expect.
But when I ask him if he wants to do soccer camp - if he says no - I will totally respect that and we'll find something else to do.

Linking up tomorrow with Mom Loop's blog hop to Celebrate our Children's Independence:

25 comments:

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Love how you handled this, Lisa. My boys each went through a season of soccer and baseball. Neither of them were interested in returning the next year, but at least they had the opportunity to try. :)

Jeremi said...

i also really like how you handled this --- i have a really hard time figuring out when to stand back and when to help out, and both my girls are reserved initially in all situations, even familiar ones, especially zoe. i like how you worded things too, letting pierce know you'll be there but giving him his space, he can look up and wave if he needs to see you ..... thanks for sharing!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

You gave Pierce a visual reminder that you were still there to support him as he explored something new. What a wonderful idea!

texwisgirl said...

i'm glad you got him to go back and be more involved. i was never a team sports person and wish i had been able to enjoy it more.

Jill said...

You did a great job, Mom! Your boys are just too darn cute!

Chatty Crone said...

A valuable lesson for you both - that was the right thing Lisa...

Valerie said...

If anyone ever decides to have a parent camp to teach people how to be excellent parents-Lisa please sign up to teach. I think you handled the situation perfectly. Pierce is a lucky boy to have you for his mom:)

Trisha said...

I know just how you felt :) Its so hard not to run out there & "help"!! Been there a few times :D

Mary said...

That's awesome he went back and tried again. I think what you did was perfect. You didn't let him quit by letting him try again. I think that is something we can use with a lot of situations. Like when they try new foods!

You are and awesome mama :)

I hope you're having a great weekend!

Sarah said...

I'm glad he ended up feeling better about it but I love that you are going to allow him to decide if he wants to keep doing it. I think that shows that you're a great mom!!! :)

Jim said...

Thanks for the 'heads up' Lisa....re Friday.
Maybe next year for soccer camp!

Sally said...

Awwww, you're such a good mom, Lisa! I love how you handled the situation. Too many times I've seen parents "lose it" even at Pierce's age; it's such a bad reflection for kids to witness.

Have a great day! I look forword to your post tomorrow. :)

Ginny said...

What a great story for the fourth Of July!!! Your own story of how you give your children support, yet freedom. Kind of like God does with us. I loved reading this, and am so glad it turned out well. You handled it perfectly, or it may not have. And with Reid and Cort doing registrations, I bet the whole town turned out!!

Dawn said...

You are one wonderful mom.
You are!!!

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates said...

Great Job! I also tend to do the same with my girls! Maybe because I always had to protect my sister. She never wanted to stand up for herself. These are valuable lessons to learn early in life!!

A Quiet Corner said...

What an experience for you and Pierce, Baby Girl! My heart broke when I read about him lying in the grass too! You are a wonderful, devoted mom and he knows that you'll always be at his side!...:)JP

Loretta said...

Lisa, you are good! I was very close to my sons when they were growing up. If I'd walked up seeing my son lying in the grass like that, I think I would have gone nuts! LOL.
You handled it well. Thank goodness for calm and patient moms today! LOL. You have the sweetiest little boys! Hugs!

Texan said...

I think you handled this very well, but I must say whew that must have taken some real will power on your part. As you know I don't have kids and probably a good thing tee hee, as I was reading this I thought WHAT who hurt him, run down and pick him up. Where are the adults! ROFL see ya I might have been a bit over protecting as a Mom .. tee hee ya think?

Crow said...

Yes Lisa. It is so hard to hold yourself back, when you see your child struggling.

Sophia takes horseback riding lessons. At one group lesson her foot slipped from the stirrup and she put her weight on that side and tumbled off. The horse stopped, and the other parents were nervously asking, "who's child is that?" I was in the back and said, "she is mine" while I watched intently. I could see Sophia get up, she was crying. Then her and the teacher walked away. I stood my ground and waited. Soon Sophia was back on the horse, posting and trotting, puffy face red face under the brim of her riding helmet.
::sigh::
It took my breath away.

Nobody can ever prepare you for being a parent. There are so many heart strings.

The Activity Mom said...

Great story! That must have been hard but you handled it beautifully! Great pics too!

Mom blog by Texasholly said...

Oh that would be so hard to watch! I am so glad you stuck with it. I can just imagine how you wanted to run out there and just give him a hug.

I have a Reid too...so sweet.

simply heidi said...

Good for you! It is so hard to see our children struggle through things, but if we always jump in and save them, they lose so much. Learning how to work through difficult situations in an important life skill. Even though it just about kills the mama watching. :)

~SHANNON~ said...

I can imagine that WOULD be tough to not jump in and fix everything- but sounds like you straddled the perfect line of supportive but giving space! I'm taking notes!

Hugs!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I agree with how you handled this. My son was never into soccer so we did not force him. He had to make his own decisions and you know he is now a Marine (his decision too)

Ali - My Suitcase Full of Tricks said...

I know. Soccer was hard for my son too. I'm glad he stuck it out. And I totally cracked up at the shot of the boys at the registration table. They look very "official."