This summer we signed the 2 older boys up for soccer. It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun. The kids liked it too. Well, the four year old did. He loved it. Not only did he get to score goals and practice his trapping, passing and baby touches (dribbling), but the park where they had practice was about 50 yards from the train tracks, so about 4 times a practice the drills would have to stop so everyone could wave to the train going by.

The three year old wasn’t so inclined to participate. He has this genetic condition known as shyness. He gets it from my side of the family. His cousin had it for about a year, and his father (me) had it for about all of my life. Anyway, he decided that even though he and his brother make up 40% of the team, he was too shy to participate. It wasn’t because he didn’t know how to play soccer, either. I think that surprisingly, he is as good at soccer as his brother who has a year on him.

Anyway, he sat out the first practice (that’s all they do at this age apparently - practice). The next week I encouraged my wife to lure him onto the field by promising to hold his hand. Not only did it work, but my wife got to practice for free! Over the next 3 practices, she got pretty good, and he actually participated most of the time.

Suddenly, and unexpectedly on the second to last practice, he decided that he didn’t need to hold her hand anymore. He ran off to get a soccer ball and my wife just sort of shrugged her shoulders and slowly walked back to join me on the sideline with the 2 younger kids. The three year old didn’t even notice that mommy wasn’t there anymore. If he did, it was the way he wanted it anyway. He came up to me at the end of practice and told me all the cool things he did, like scoring a goal and passing the ball. We all celebrated the occasion with a tall glass of chocolate milk when we got home.

I didn’t get out of things quite as easily as I had hoped. Unbeknownst to me, the last soccer practice was actually a scrimmage against the parents. I dutifully participated, and I didn’t even have to hold anyone’s hand (most of the time). We did lose 7-1 however. Yes, that’s right one of the parents scored a goal. He claims it was an accident. I’m not so convinced.