Perhaps not the best way to end the season, letting a goal slip right between your legs:
Although her team did win the game, which makes this not an unforgivable offense.
And, it happened right before the game where the goalie on Kellen's team got kicked in the hand and broke his finger, so all told, a ball between the legs is preferable, in my opinion.
Kellen's team played a tournament in a town about an hour away from our house. His first game was Saturday at 10:30 am, then the second game wasn't until 4:30 pm. It wasn't quite enough time to drive back and forth to home, so a group of us stayed in town, taking the boys out to lunch and then a movie. Since Kellen doesn't go to school or church with any of the boys on his team it was a great opportunity for him to spend time with his team-mates, laughing and joking around and spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom at Logan's Roadhouse, "washing their hands", finger quotes, which tells me they were likely getting into whatever mischief it is that 10-yr old boys get into.
It was also a nice opportunity for me to get better acquainted with the other parents on the team, especially Omar's dads, and chat with them about how this season has gone, now that it's almost over. Next Saturday is their final game of the outdoor fall season before moving on to indoor futsal, which I have no idea what the hell that even is, but apparently we have to buy new shoes and a new ball and of course we do because that's all competitive sports really is, a bottomless hole that we parents throw money into .... right, countless other parents out there???
Although none of the other parents on the team would ever say so (at least not to my face) it's no big secret that Kellen is one of the weaker players on his team. And I wouldn't even say "weak", because he's taller and faster and just as skilled as the other boys. It's just that he seems to lack the "assertive" gene that the other boys have. He'll run for the ball, but hesitates before throwing his body weight into winning it. Hmmmm. Maybe that's because he doesn't actually HAVE any body weight. He's simply timid .... or maybe "polite" on the field is a better way of describing it. Nobody rolls their eyes and groans when he takes the field, but nobody rubs their hands together gleefully and thinks, "OK, here we go!!", either.
So I was joking with the other parents that I need to figure out how to make Kellen more assertive on the field (NOT aggressive, there is a difference ....) and how my only hope for this entire season is that he score one goal. A single goal. What a difference it might make in his confidence level. Considering his coach plays him at defender, chances were bleak it would happen. But still ---- just one goal.
Fast forward to the Sunday morning game. (I know! Sunday morning! Which means apparently there won't be any soccer playing in heaven because all the players and their families are not getting in since we are forced to skip church to attend tournaments!!) His regular coach had another game to coach, so another coach from our league came to coach our boys. (How many times can I use the word "coach" in one sentence???) At the half, we were behind 3-0 in what to me, looked like a good game. In the second half, to my surprise, the coach put Kellen in as a forward.
I sat there and watched him play, and knew how badly he wanted that goal, and although I love him dearly, I just wasn't sure he could make it happen. When rushed or crowded, he has a tendency to pass the ball to his teammates, thinking it's better for our team to keep the ball, especially if it means someone in a better position could take the shot. So yeah, he's a team player, but that doesn't help in my "just one goal" quest.
So he's out there, playing his brand of "cautious" soccer, and I'm sitting in my chair on the sidelines. I despise people who only pray when they want something, but suddenly I found myself throwing up a silent plea:
"Lord, just one goal this season. I won't get greedy and ask for more. I won't get greedy and ask that it be a winning goal, or that he be the star, or that his team even win the game. Just one goal, to keep him interested in the sport and boost his self-esteem."
I crossed my fingers, too, for good luck. Do you think crossed fingers count for much with God?
Not thirty seconds later, from a far corner, with two players defending him, Kellen shot a high kick that went just over the tips of the goalie's fingers, and WOOOOOSH! flew perfectly into the corner of the net.
I'm pretty sure the folks in Canada heard me screaming. And because of the conversation I had just had with the other parents, they were every bit as excited for me. Michael's mom came and hugged me, Adam's mom came and we jumped up and down together, and Omar's dads both gave me double-high-fives.
But all of that paled in comparison to the look of pure happiness on Kellen's face. It might have been one of the greatest moments in his young sports life; I'm pretty sure it was, considering the first thing he did after the game was call his dad and his grandma and his aunt Kelly to tell them, then re-hash it with me the entire ride home, and then re-create the scene in the living room to "show" the rest of the family, and yes, we all know you were double-teamed, and yes, it went just over the goalie's fingers tips, ok, fine, you're a superstar, we get it.
Of course, that meant the rest of the game I had to sit there silently and NOT be unhappy when his team wound up losing the game 3-2, because a deal is a deal ....
But still, totally worth it.