My amazing daughter, Caleigh, is six and a half years old. She has now played soccer for two years and before that took soccer “lessons” in the form of Playball (which I highly recommend to any parents looking to not only get some activity in their child’s lifestyle but also to learn the real skills of soccer).
Each week on the way to soccer we have recited the following:
“I’m an awesome soccer player! I’m going to play hard! I’m going to run fast! I’m going to pass well! I’m going to score a goal! I’m going to have fun!”
It’s become somewhat of a tradition, much like our bedtime routine.
For two years, Caleigh has wanted to score a goal. Two years of practice both on the field with her team and at home with us. Two years of manifesting the ball going into the net and then practicing her celebratory dance. (That dance is awesome. I don’t have video but imagine her hips shaking, fingers pointing into the air, and head bobbing side to side with a big goofy grin.)
Also, though, two years of no goals.
Which, let’s be honest, is also the situation for 85% of her teammates. Not many of these amazing girls have scored a goal. Watching six and seven year olds play soccer is great because they are no longer the beehive of kids chasing the ball aimlessly BUT strategy is still not a strong point. They basically like to kick it as hard as they can and hope it goes somewhere in the vicinity of a teammate or the net.
Tom and I have never put pressure on her to score a goal – our focus has always been fun. However I don’t know anyone who has played soccer without dreaming of making the perfect shot. Caleigh included.
Last night her scoreless streak ended. With just a couple of minutes left in the game, Caleigh had the opportunity to run with the ball. With two of the opposing team members on both sides of her, she stayed focused and bam – one final kick and in the ball went.
Big cheers from everyone on the sidelines. Tom and I high-fiving one another (yes, we are THOSE parents). Caleigh with a big kool-aid grin on her face. She’d done it!
Best part for me was on the way home, she piped up from the backseat “Mom? You know what? Now that I got a goal, I don’t think it will be hard to do it again!” I couldn’t agree more. I find that in life once I reach a goal, it’s easy to do so again AND set higher goals for the future.
Best part for Caleigh? A stop at the ice cream shop on the way home for a celebratory cone.