Helena likes to draw on the board at school. In particular, at the beginning of the year she liked to draw about what she was learning in school or various other things that she categorized. My students loved them and they were surprised how well she wrote. I’m happy that she feels confident enough to write words that she doesn’t know how to spell.
Helena: Liam, I’m a warrior!
Liam: Is that one of those people that clean up people’s throw up?
Helena: No, that’s a janitor.
On Wednesday of this week, I was sick so Dalen took the kids over to Bryant Square for their soccer “class” while I made dinner and cleaned. The coach told Dalen that Liam would be a good soccer player one day and remarked on how well Liam likes it.
I’ve tried getting Liam to do things, but that usually ends up in him saying no. He did do ice skating because Helena did, but he wouldn’t do Karate or ice hockey. So I don’t know why when I mention soccer that he was so enthused about it. Not once has he complained about having to go to practice, like he often did with ice skating.
On Saturday, it was a cold and drizzly day, but soccer wasn’t cancelled. I was the only parent there for his team other than the two coaches although six kids did show up (out of nine, I think). Even the person bringing the treats didn’t show up until the end.
Liam was doing okay, like he always does. He does hustle, but isn’t too aggressive in trying to get the ball away from the other team. But nobody smiles more than Liam as he runs along with the other team. There have been times when Liam gets distracted by something and is lost in another world as the game evolves around him. I told him once during the game to pay attention because the other team was coming at him and he was talking to another kid about the score (that nobody keeps track of except some kids).
Not a minute later, he’s looking at a man and a kid throwing a tennis ball back and forth and two kids from the other team start going for goal. Liam just isn’t in his game. So I tell him “Liam, get them!”. His coach does, too, but by then the kids are well past him. He tries to catch up, but the kids just basically walk it into the net.
This is where is gets bad. Liam feels really bad. He goes to his net to get the ball out and I see him put his head on the side of the goal (it is just a very tiny goal…maybe four feet across and 2 or 3 feet high. He is crying. I don’t think that he’s ever felt that bad about something before – it was almost as if he felt ashamed for the first time. I felt so bad for him. His coach did, too, and to his credit, he went over put his hand on his shoulders and told him that his team needed him to get up there and score now.
He was a real trooper, though. He started to run with the ball toward the other side of the field, holding back tears and sniffling. After a few seconds, he was good once again. During the next 15 minutes, he scored three times. The first one was a typical goal you’d see in a 5/6 year old game, the second actually was kicked into the air…it his a kid’s arm and went in, and the third was the best I”ve seen from anyone. He was playing defense, but was up attacking (if you can call it that) and the ball just came back to him. I told him to shoot, which he did, and it left the ground, past five heads, his the upper part of the net and went in. The two coaches were both saying, “That was awesome” and seemed to be really impressed. Liam just turned around and looked at me like he always does and I gave him a good clap and told him that was awesome. Then he recounted the score once again to his teammates, something he loves to do, especially when they are winning.
The scored 6 and let two in (including the breakaway).
Treat parent showed up with last minute popcorn and a carton of juice, but she works at the parks so she gave it to them in the heated room. The kids all sat down and they had a nice time going back over the score, which, with my help, arrived at about 14-1.
I guess there are things that kids remember forever, for better or for worse. I wonder if Liam will remember this game. How he let his team down, was embarrassed, but then went on to score three goals and win anyway. With so much to remember, I wonder if I’ll remember him walking slowly to get that ball out of the net and hanging his head down on that right post and begin to cry. Maybe it isn’t something that you really want to see, but it is something that I hope that I remember. He seemed so different – so “unkid” like. And although it was kid like to cry, for him to get right up after his coach said some kind words and get back into the game was special.