After about a month of practices, Annabel had her first soccer game last Saturday. She was soooo excited to put on her uniform. You might need sunglasses to look upon it:
When she first tried it on she was like, “Oh my gosh, I love it, it’s so beautiful, don’t you think?” And I was like, “…it’s very, um, bright.” At least it makes our team easy to find.
When we got to the field, the coach lead the girls through a pregame meeting. While they spoke, I said to Mike, “We have two problems. One, these girls haven’t practiced on a full-length field so they are going to be so tired. Two, we’re going to have to put a leash or something on James, because he thinks he’s part of the team.”
Sure enough, when the girls started to warm up on the full field, they were a little nervous. “The field is so big! We have to run that whole thing?” I heard a couple girls (including my own) say. The coach told them that once the game started, it wouldn’t feel big anymore, but the girls all looked doubtful.
As we settled in on the sidelines, I realized that I had prepared for the game all wrong. I’d only brought one chair and one oversized blanket to sit on. I’d only brought a snack and water for James. I hadn’t brought along any shade, like an umbrella or pop-up tent. And most importantly, the snack shack did not provide a full-service bar or omelet station. We were just expected to eat hot dogs and drink soda, like animals.
Annabel was very excited that she was chosen to be the team captain for the day. That meant that she got to go to the center of the field for the coin toss. She picked heads, and won. She jumped up and down as if she’d scored a goal.
The girls were very focused as the referee walked out to start the game, and then they all started squealing because the ball they got to play with was purple. This is Under 7 soccer in a nutshell.
Despite it being pretty hot, I was surprised to see that all of the girls ran around like crazy. They never slowed down and were aggressive most of the time.
Annie played the first half, then sat out the third quarter (everyone sits out a quarter on her team). As you can see, she was blessed with my ability to turn bright-red when she exerts herself.
It’s a gift.
While she was on the sidelines with us, we reiterated what her coach had told the girls at halftime. The girls had been hesitant to go for the ball when they were all clumped together because they didn’t want to kick anyone. The coach had told them not to worry about that, because that’s why they wear shin guards. We told Annie he was right, and to focus on the ball and go for it.
When she went back in for the last part of the game, she put her head down, focused on the ball…and accidentally kicked a girl on the back of her leg, where there isn’t a shin guard. The girl went down for a moment but was okay. Annie, on the other hand, shot us a look like we had personally injured the girl and were not to be trusted.
James did great during the game. We were worried that he’d be upset he couldn’t run out onto the field, but he had fun on the sidelines cheering for “my girls.”
It also didn’t hurt that he had another little brother to hang out with.
In Annabel’s age group they don’t officially keep score, but of course the girls knew the exact number of goals scored by both sides. Annabel’s team scored the most goals, so they were the winners (in their minds). I said, “Everyone’s a winner!” and Annie and two of her teammates looked at me like I was really dumb, and one of her friends said, “Um…no. Just us.”
I ended up enjoying the game much more than I expected. The girls really hustled and they never complained about the heat. Soccer Saturdays are starting to look a lot better (although obviously things would be A+ if the snack shack could get it together with that full-service bar).