I never thought I would see this day.
You see, up until now, we’ve stayed away from team sports. I could never see how it could work out. My son is hyper-competitive about EVERYTHING. We read a book about Hot Wheels cars, he looks to the end to see which car wins the race and declares “I’m that car.” We don’t play board games because they never end well. The whole win/lose concept is a tough one for him.
So a team sport? Yikes.
But this year many of his peers were starting to join Little League and I didn’t want him to feel left out. His older brother plays baseball and has since he was five. We’ve spent the past 4 springs and summers at the ball field.
So I asked him “Howie, do you want to play T-Ball this year?”
“Nope.” came the response. “I want to play soccer.”
Now I’m going to let you in on a secret, Coach. I know nothing about soccer. Nothing. Well, I know that in third grade I played soccer for three weeks and quit because it was too much running. I played softball. Less running. My brother and sister played baseball. So naturally, I wanted Howie to play baseball too. But nope, he picks soccer. Of all the sports, I know the least about the rules of soccer. It used to be hockey, but my friend Stimey has taught me a lot.
So…when he said “soccer”, I almost said no. Almost.
“Really? Soccer? Are you sure?”
I started to investigate. I knew we couldn’t play spring soccer in our town league. The kids there had been playing for years already, even at age six. The competition level would be too much.
I had some friends who had played on your TOPSoccer league last year and enjoyed it. And that’s where we landed.
I’m going to let you in on another secret, Coach. Initially, the thought of signing him up for a special needs soccer program was hard. Clicking that link off the main soccer page wasn’t easy. But…acceptance starts at home. I know what my son can and cannot do. Any other league but yours would be setting him up for failure.
And I would be failing him more if I didn’t do it at all.
I told him I had signed him up to play. This was about a month ago.
He has asked me EVERY SINGLE DAY when soccer was going to start.
Can I tell you again, Coach, I never thought we’d make it here?
From the moment he stepped on that field, he was home.
You welcomed him in, paired him with a helper, and off he went. Surrounded by friends – new and old.
He ran up and down that field. He clapped for his “team” and he smiled every minute.
He scored two goals. You made sure of that. You gave him high fives and cheered him on.
You want to talk inclusion? For the first time, my kid was a part of something.
High fives all around
Clapping for his team
Next week may be different. I don’t know.
But you know what? I can’t wait to find out.
Is it Sunday again yet?
See you on the soccer field.
Alysia (Howie’s mom)
“Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack