I don’t recall if I’ve specifically alluded to this or not, but Nugget is in soccer lessons. Yes, at just barely past the ripe young age of 2, she’s running around, kicking soccer balls, and doing it all with other kids under the watchful eye of her coaches. She’s even got an adorable little jersey of her own (face it, folks, sports jerseys on tiny children is cute. It just is), even if she doesn’t really ever want to wear it. Clearly, this kid is going to be a star, and will eventually be a member of the USWNT.
Okay. A few things.
First off, I do not in any way hold the illusion that Nugget, at her current age, is in any way indicating that she is going to be some sort of soccer superstar. If she turns out to be one, that’s fine. But I’m not banking on it. That would be silly. At present, she’s liking the activity, but it could all vanish in the blink of an eye. Never mind the incredible odds against being one of the best in the world at anything. I will never discourage my daughter from trying something that she might enjoy, and may sometimes push her to a new experience that could be fun, but I won’t ever push her with the insistence that she is going to be amazing. Now, if she turns out to BE amazing at these activities, that’s pretty awesome. But I’m not going to let her self-worth ever get caught up in whether or not she’s good enough at a certain activity, because people are more than one dimension.
Secondly, this whole concept of “soccer lessons”? I’m sure that they’ll get a little more intense as the sessions go on, but right now, it’s pretty much semi-organized chaos, with a few soccer balls and nets thrown in for good measure. The kids get to pop bubbles. They get to play with a parachute. There are rousing games of “Red Light, Green Light”. Sometimes, they make contact with a ball, and sometimes that contact is even made with the foot. More often than not, this is completely accidental, and surprises no one more than the child who landed a solid kick.
Third, her “coaches” are probably high school kids with some free time and a desire to hang around a bunch of toddlers and their parents. I say “probably” because I’m old enough that seeing 21-year-olds at the bar makes me wonder how a bunch of 13-year-olds fooled the bouncer. Anyway, they’re perfectly nice kids, they clearly have some understanding of soccer, and they want to try to organize a group of tiny energy balls for around an hour. I commend them. They should do well if they ever get called to manage a professional soccer team, although the behavior of the players will probably be worse.
Anyway, all of that said, Nugget is taking soccer lessons! She’s super good at kicking the ball! She even did back-heel kicks today, out of nowhere, and clearly intentionally! Sure, she’s also complimenting herself and repeating instructions to other kids, but that’s besides the point. She’s an international superstar in the making! Nugget is the kind of player who is going to go places!
As long as Mama or I are driving her to those places. And right there to remind her what she’s supposed to do. And cheering for her when she puts a ball down one inch away from the goal, and then kicks it into the goal.
Hey, at least she isn’t carrying the balls around as often anymore. I wasn’t quite ready to handle the idea of my daughter playing in goal.