Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keep Your Eye on the Goal

After a week of soggy evenings at soccer camp, my three oldest kids, along with the rest of the family, were sun-scorched today as they put their new found "futbol" skills to the test.  Three separate games were watched, three sets of pictures and videos were taken, and three personalities were vividly expressed and captured on film. 

Mr. J.  At eleven years, he's entirely a rough and tumble boy.  And fiercely competitive.  Being extremely small for his age, he's had trouble competing in other sports, but this kid has some soccer skills, let me tell you.  The other boys on his team were all much bigger, but Mr. J darted between them with the agility of a cheetah...or at least a really agile kid.  Very impressive.  He scored three goals and was always in on the action, except for the time when he was tripped and lay writhing on the grass like he'd been shot.  That's my boy, all right.  Good athlete, but sometimes I wonder if theater might be his calling.

Miss M.  My tomboy, although she hates being referred to as such.  She looks beautiful in a tutu, but you can tell she feels awkward when she's all dolled up: on the soccer field, she looks right at home.  This tiny almost nine-year-old played with everything in her, and did not stop moving for the entire game.  I got tired standing on the sidelines watching her, and I was only taking pictures.  Back and forth and back and forth, Miss M was on top of the ball wherever it went.  With no strategy at all, and frequently planting wild kicks in other players' shins, she reveled in being part of the action.  She hurt both of her ankles in the process, but no one even knew about it until we were on the way home.  That's my daughter.  She's tough.  With a few strategy skills and a little teamwork practice, we could have a soccer player on our hands.

And then there's little Miss J, five years old, distractable like her mama, and girly as they come.  She loved soccer camp.  I knew we were in trouble, though, when on the first day I asked her what she learned and she said she learned about the goalie...but she couldn't remember what the goalie was supposed to do.  She did know what she had for a snack, though, and this became the theme for the week:

Me:  "Did you have fun at soccer camp?"

Miss J:  "Yes!  We had goldfish for a snack!" or "It was fun!  We had pretzels for a snack!"

Today, when it was time for her game to start, she asked "Will we have a snack today?"

Let's just say that when Miss J's game started this morning, I was pleasantly surprised when she immediately volunteered to be the goalie.  A bit risky, I'd say, when you're unsure of the goalie's purpose, but at least she wanted to be involved.  She marched right to the net and assumed her goalie stance, and the game began.  She let in the first goal, saved a second, and somewhere around then I could tell that her mind was drifting.  Butterflies and blue skies had whisked her away, and soccer wasn't even on her radar.  A coach's friendly reminder of "Pay attention to the ball!" would bring her back momentarily, but she was never fully engaged for long.  

They played six short periods.  She was goalie for the first, she sat out the second, she played (well enough) for the third, she asked to sit out for the fourth, she delayed the fifth when she left to get a drink of water, she brought me a bouquet between the fifth and sixth, and she reclined on the sidelines with legs up during most of the sixth.  Never did it occur to her that Grandma and Papa, Mom and Dad, and all four of her siblings had come to see her play.  Not sit.

When it was over, she ran to us, smiling ear to ear.  We asked her why she liked sitting out better than playing, and she said, "I was ready for the game to be done.  I was ready for a snack!"

So soccer camp is over, and honestly, I find that I've learned something from all three of my kids.  Mr. J is passionate and competitive and driven to prove himself.  Fearless.  Miss M has a goal to achieve and puts forth endless effort to reach it.  An accomplisher.  I greatly admire people who keep their eye on the goal, so to speak.  The doers.  The self-motivated.  The task oriented.  The accomplishers.

Because I more closely resemble Miss J in thought and action (or lack of action).  I'm distracted, I lose focus, I'm unmotivated, I forget what I'm doing, I lose my way, I'm content to sit on the sidelines and dream instead of accomplish the goals set out for me.  Miss J comes by it honestly, bless her poor sweet distractable heart, and she'll most likely have to deal with these things for the rest of her life.  It's a real struggle, living with ADHD.  But there's beauty and laughter and closeness with God wrapped right along with it.

And man, are we entertaining.  

Gotta go.  It's time for a snack.

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