Zack’s been playing soccer this spring. I probably have footage somewhere in my iPhone to prove it. I caught him giving a good kick to the ball, and was amazed when it went 30 feet. Unfortunately, he wasn’t aiming toward the goal, but the distance counts for something–at least to me.
Most of the time I feel sad when I watch Zack play soccer. Truthfully, I feel sad about how much he doesn’t play soccer–how he doesn’t engage in the game when team mates surrounding him all seem eager to cheer and run and kick and block. Zack tends to just stand and maybe walk a few feet in either direction, mostly avoiding the ball whenever it comes his way. I can get into a real slump about that if I don’t watch myself and we leave each game with me giving myself an internal pep-talk. Either that, or sliding quickly into self-pity and depression.
It reminds me of myself in Seventh Grade P.E. class. Every game involving a ball began with a flashing red light going off inside my head. Unseen to the invisible eye, this beacon strobed a Morse code message that said, “Hit me! Hit me! Hit me!”
Nobody ever taught me to head butt.
I used to pray that the ball wouldn’t come my way. Maybe Zack is praying, too. He heads toward the restrooms mid-game, every game. I suppose it’s easier to pray in there than out on the field.
The one thing Zack is good at in soccer is throw-ins. Remember my post about basketball? Zack is a professional when it comes to throw-ins. This ability is highly generalized. At home, he throws the dog’s ball over the fence to the neighbor’s yard, consistently. When I was hanging out at soccer practice one day he kept trying to throw the spare balls over the fence there, too. Fortunately that fence was about 16 feet tall and he wasn’t successful.
The one thing I see enthusiasm about while playing soccer is Zack’s delight when I show up for the game. I choose to believe this is about ME and not about going HOME, so humor me. My son has an uncanny ability to know when I arrive, regardless of the football field length between the parking lot and the field he is playing on. I kid you not. One day I drove up, got out of my car, could barely see him as a dot on the field, and he turned and waved.
Jay and I figure he hears our cars from about half a mile away. It’s a rare ability, but he always knows when we come near (or even not so near).
I love this about my boy: his highest achievement is making others feel welcome, loved, appreciated. It doesn’t get better than that.
(Above photo is Zack with his friend, MacKenzie, at soccer practice. He really wanted to throw that ball he was holding!)