Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Please, Please, Play Soccer

I spent a good part of last week trying to convince one of my seven-year-old twins to play soccer.

You read that right; I'm trying to convince him.

I played a video of kids playing soccer.  We talked about people in our family who've played soccer. 

I had his speech therapist do a social story on soccer.

I have actually pleaded with the Creator of the universe, "please let my kid play soccer...".

My husband and I have long ago accepted the fact that somehow out of a reckless hockey player and dream-chasing writer popped a computer nerd (I say that with much love :)) yet I cannot accept the fact that he will never even attempt a sport.  It can't happen.

Not because I'm obsessed with sports - any one who really knows me knows that is a joke.

But because sports teach things I can't. 

Like how to try something even though you're nervous.

Or team spirit.

Or good sportsmanship.

How to have a good attitude, win  or lose.

And how to make friends.

Sports teach life skills that he needs...

and that do not come easy to kids on the autism spectrum.

So, yes, I spent a good amount of time trying to persuade him.

First, I talked him into going to Academy with us to buy cleats and shin guards for his younger brother, who is also playing. 

Then I said, "just try on a pair...".

I couldn't believe it, but he did.  And then he told me when needed a new soccer ball because the one in our backyard was dirty. 

So we bought a new soccer ball.  And water bottles.  And by the time we paid for everything, he had agreed to go meet the coach. 

At this point, I was still prepared to ask for my money back.

The night before the big day, I talked to him about how it's okay to be nervous when you don't know what to expect in a new situation.  We talked about being brave and things he was scared about in the past that ended up working out just fine.  We talked about making friends and how exciting it would be to have everyone come and watch his games. 

And in the morning, he didn't fuss much about going.  He still claimed he wasn't going to play, though.

When we got to the fields, he asked me to help him put his cleats on.  
Then when his name was called, I walked him by the hand to the coach. 

Hesitant, he turned around.  I gave him a smile, reminding him I was going to be right there watching.  Then the coach took his hand.

And he did great.

He had fun.

So much fun, that when we got back in the van, he asked when he could come back and play again.
 Yup, it's official...

I'm a soccer mom :).

So how do we reach big goals?

Hand in hand, one baby step at a time.

Equally weighed out patience and perseverance. 

How do you help your kids reach their goals?

30 comments:

  1. I make sure my daughter sticks with it, and soon enough she reaches her goal.

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  2. Awwww what a great post! I'm glad you're a soccer mom, and that most of all, he had fun! That's awesome. We pretty much let Gaby try anything once. She's been involved in dance for about 4 years but recently said goodbye to that because she discovered snowboarding and she is ALL about that! I could tell the passion just wasn't there for dance, but I can hardly keep her off her board. Thankfully when the snow goes away she has her skateboard and swimming; both things she likes, but not as much as snowboarding. We're thinking about trying Lacrosse too, as she's shown some interest in it. As far as encouraging her, I make sure she sticks with it unless she absolutely hates it, and usually she ends up realizing that she likes it and wants to get better!

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    1. I love that your daughter is into non-traditional sports! I love the thought of letting them try anything once, as well.

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  3. I'm so happy that he did so great! My son has a delay and has really struggled doing team sports because of how he functions so we tend to gravitate towards swimming lessons and such.

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    1. We enjoyed swimming lessons, as well. This is our first team sport attempt...so we'll see!

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  4. I always wanted my daughter to play sports and she tried soccer and volleyball in middle school. She liked them, but she always had so much homework that she would have to stay up until almost midnight to finish it after practice and games. :( She dropped out of both after the season ended.

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    1. That sounds like me in high school :(.

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  5. We play sports as a family but not organized sports. I'm practical and have never wanted to drive myself or my family crazy going in eight different directions (we have eight children). As it is, most of my children play piano and I found piano teachers who come to our home. That's just me though.

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    1. I worry about that, too, even with four. I love the idea of having a piano teacher come to the house!

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  6. We're a huge soccer family. My son is one more then one team and my hubby is on one too! My middle will only play basketball and swim though.

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  7. Wo0t!! Congrats on being a soccer mom! Congrats to your little man too!

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  8. Congrats on being a soccer mom! I'm glad he gave a try and hope he continues to love it.

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  9. That's wonderful! I too encourage my kids to play sports. All I ask is that they pick any sport they want (one per year, per kid) and try. If they don't like it after one year, they can try something else.

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    1. I love the one per year, per kid! It keeps some balance. It's important to commit - like teaching them to sign a contract :)

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  10. How awesome! My son's thing is acting. He is currently performing in Charlotte's Web (his 10th play) at our local children's theatre. We did try soccer, baseball, and basketball, but they weren't his thing. He has a natural talent for acting, though.

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    1. We've had a few failed attempts with our youngest son but like you said, they weren't his thing. I think it's important for us to help our kids find that "thing" that lights them up :) Glad your son found his!

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  11. We were going to sign my daughter up this year, but both sign up days were during the week she was very sick :(

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  12. Congrats on being a soccer mom! Congrats to your little man too!

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  13. I help my kids reach their goals the same way. So glad he had a great times!!

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  14. It's so important to teach our kiddos to stick with it. I'm not big on organized sports as I think that they've gotten way out of control as far as crazy schedules go but I do love the lessons they learn when part of a team.

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    1. I agree. I'm way more interested in the life lessons :)

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  15. I'm glad he had fun. My son just asked me today if I would sign him up for soccer.

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  16. I'm glad all the encouragement paid off and that he really enjoyed himself!

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  17. This story warms my heart, truly. I'm so glad you got him to try & I hope it becomes a new passion!

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  18. Love this! I want to take my 4 year old to try soccer :D

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  19. So glad it worked it, I wish I could get my kiddos into sports of some sort!

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  20. Loook at him! That's awesome. I'm glad he decided to go and loved it!!!

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