I love coaching my son’s soccer team for 7 and 8 year olds. It is a challenging and confusing age. Since they are so capable of physically doing more than they could just a year or two ago, it takes me by surprise when they cry, or feel frustrated that someone is calling them names or kicking them. Its like their physical strength is ahead of their emotional life.
For the last two weeks, I’ve had my players point out an opposing player who is kicking, punching, or taunting them. On one hand, I want them to just ignore it. But the truth is I think it is genuinely confusing to them. At home and at school, they are expected to follow the rules, and are punished for shoving back. So why would it be fair in a soccer game.Moreover when we agree to coach, we are asked to teach the kids about good sportsmanship. But when I’ve approached the opposing coaches about the parents and kids concerns, they’ve simply justified or rationalized their players behavior.
So when I returned to my players and they asked, “what should I do coach? Should I kick them back?” A part of me wants to say, “yeah, and kick the opposing coach too.” But instead, I’ve opted for telling them to take the anger and use it to boot goals, and steal the ball away. To me, they’ve got time to learn about playing dirty. I’d rather they learn to play the game the right way and let their emerging skill and talent do the talking.
And so far, it seems to work. They haven’t lost yet and they creamed those teams!
When I heard that Obama was considering Hillary as Secretary of State, my mind started thinking about how Obam, Hillary and Joe will work together. At that point, I heard the tune to ‘l’m Hardrock, I’m Coco, I’m Joe.” I thought Barack would likely be Hardrock. Though its a stretch, I’d pick Hillary for Hardrock and Joe Biden for Joe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT5Ohgl7eTM
If you’ve never heard of Hardrock, Coco, and Joe, then you were not watching morning tv as a child in the Midwest. It was not uncommon to see these guys sing on cold winter mornings until Christmas. This was before cable and the land of a thousand channels. So snuggle up with some hot coco and jam to Hardrock, Coco, and Joe
Yesterday I went looking for a pair of sneakers for myself. I invited Ry to join me and promised I’d find him a pair too. Needless to say, most of the time was spent on him. I focused on price and familiar brands,like Nike, New Balance, or Adiddas. He immediately gravitated towards these black sneakers with puffy tongues, red soles, and skeletons on the side. It was an interesting moment in our relationships.
On one hand, I didn’t like the way the shoes looked and I was clear about that. And he was able to pretend like he was going to vomit when I pointed him towards traditional brands. I challenged him, “are you going to really wear those things or complain about them when we get home?” “I love them. I will wear them.” “Well lets run across the street and see what other choices DSW had. I was hoping to distract him.
I diverted him with shoes at Marshalls. For a moment, he considered Ben 10 shoes and then nixed the idea. So we looked for a pair for me. He seemed to enjoy playing shoe salesman and carrying boxes of shoes in my size. He used his persuasive powers to get me to buy the adult version of his skull shoes and a host of other shoes I’d never wear.
I was most impressed that he identified a pair of shoes that he liked, not ones that we wanted him to wear. The last time I did this, we bought him a pair of Vans slip-ons with flames running through them. In the end, we didn’t find shoes for me and bought the World shoes for him. Despite our differences, I really enjoy seeing how excited he is to show everyone we know his shoes.
My wife has made it a point to tell everyone that “his father let him buy those.”
While I was walking through Walgreens drug store looking for some cough syrup, I noticed the mega boxes of condoms. I couldn’t help thinking about how times have changed. Are young boys being deprived of that awkward moment of asking the pharmacist for a condem? Has that rite of passage been put to rest? Does the pharmacist even matter in the equation? It appears you just grab one of these monster size boxes and go up to the register…and pray they don’t need a price check.
I imagine there are enterprising young boys who buy these Costco size condem boxes and then sell them individually for a profit. Clearly there could be some advantages to not having to face an adult and buy a condem. However, what would it say to your peers if you only bought one condem.? So you’d probably have to purchase at least a half a dozen to keep up the perception that you are a stallion. And after a short time, they’d have to buy more in order to keep up the perception they’re having sex, even if the condems are rotting away in their wallet or being used in water balloon fights. Move over lemonade stand…hello condem stand !
I remember the nurses and hospital staff asking us who was going to be our doctor. We had been given the name of a pediatrician. And we were told he was good, although the person who referred him to us was going with someone else. I had no idea at the time that we would become so dependent on him throughout at least the next seven years. In the midst of thinking about so many other things like having a safe delivery and a healthy baby, it is easy to forget about a pediatrician.
He has been a very tuned in and compassionate doctor towards our sons. After our toddler son had swallowed a small twig, which had to be plucked out with special tongs; the doctor took extra care to make sure there was ample follow up. When my son fractured his ankle and the emergency room x-rays didn’t show a break and our son was too young to speak; our doctor examined him further and specified where the x-ray techs should take a picture. In addition, he has always been playful with the boys. He’d shine a light and ask them to see the moon. He’d make train sounds and engage them in a way that had them asking for the same experience during the next appointment.
As a parent, it feels good to have a pediatrician who seems to care for our children above and beyond what is necessary. Today, I had to go in for a check up and bumped into the doctor. He could have simply waved or said hello. But he came over and asked, “how’s J doing? Is his cough getting better.” Given the number of kids he sees in a week, it really touched me that he cared enough about our son to check in.
When I signed up Ry for soccer, a volunteer asked if anyone would be willing to help with coaching. Since this meant you could move up in the line, I thought why not. So I volunteered myself and my wife to be assistant coaches for u-8 soccer. The AYSO people told me I didn’t need to know or be an expert at soccer because its still about teaching kids good sportsmanship. Initially my wife reacted by shouting, “you volunteered us for what?!” I reassured her it was no big deal.
And then the emails started coming about volunteer meetings, coaching guidelines, schedules and I said to myself, “you signed us up to do what?!” I honestly don’t know squat about soccer other than kick the ball in the goal. I feel I can help of group of seven year old boys to work together. So I’ve been scowering the internet for simple games and drills to help them. If there are people reading this that have tips for a virgin coach with no idea what to do, I’d welcome the help. I’m so uncertain of myself in the role, that I offered to take the least athletic kids…in other words, the future leaders of the world. I may as well get on their good side when they’re young.
Ry is entering first grade this fall. And like most other years, I expected he would request and need a new backpack. What I didn’t expect was he’d want a plain backpack. This meant no Sponge Bob, Car figures, or media creations on his back. I didn’t really believe he’d follow through on this. And yet on Saturday, while buying his mom a birthday gift, I offered to look at backpacks with him.
He appeared most interested in the number of pockets and zippers available. He noticed the array of comic charactors, but he was not interested. He spotted a totes back pack with zippers, drink holders, and ample room, but we decided to check out a few more at another store. At Filenes, we hit the jackpot. There was a nice selection. He carefully dissected the bright yellow Addidas pack compared it to the Jansport and then tried them on. He opted for Adiddas, but noticed subtle but differences in color and features. Before making the final decision, we put his mom’s box in the back pack, along with the Sponge Bob umbrella, and found a cap to put in, and lastly put his flip flops where his shoes could go. And the ultimate test, “how does it feel and does it fit?” He walked about the store, looked good, felt good….we had a winner!