Friday, September 26, 2014

The Game Winning Goal!

In our house, age ten is the happiest year of life.  Elliot decided to play soccer in addition to joining a Lego Robotics league and continuing with Tae Kwon Do.  At home we continue to work on academics, music and art.  We both maintain our etsy shops in spare moments, and make time for friendship, family and play.

  It is a FULL life.

After struggling with the lonely transition from school to home education in first grade, I feel as though our lifestyle has come into full bloom.

The excitement in Elliot's heart for all of his new activities is contagious.  Every week after a soccer game, he just can't wait for the next one.

As a beginner, Coach Teri placed Elliot as a defender.  During last night's game, while I was at one end taking pictures, I heard Richard direct Elliot to move back into his position.

 It's so hard to stay put when you want to fly around the field...

When you fly too fast, you realize later that you left a hole in your absence.

After two losses and a missed practice due to rain, Elliot wanted to stay late after this week's practice to work on his skills. He and another teammate worked on making shots into the goal for an hour, and the coaches stayed to help.  I could write a separate post about how much we love our coaches...two sisters who teach by making every new skill into a game.  They give big hugs and lead with positive encouragement.  One of the sisters is named Kari, affectionately known as "Care Bear."  All the children have started calling her "Coach Care Bear." Often during practices, we can hear the loud and booming voice of the opposing team's coach on the next field.  This ex military guy leads the aptly named Bombers.  They all wear black jerseys.  He makes them run laps and do push-ups and he yells at them ALL THE TIME. The contrast between coaching styles is something we've been observing... feeling so blessed to be exactly where we are.  I'm not sure I could handle it if Elliot played on the Bombers team.  Even though they win games, the experience feels much different.  Our coaches allow this team to be exactly what they are:  children learning a new sport for the first time.

On the way to our third game, I said a little prayer for the team.

They prayed too...

As all soccer parents know, the excitement on the sidelines is intense.  So I've started to move closer to the end with my camera.  For some reason, I'm self conscious about hearing myself yell from the sidelines.  My heart pumps with excitement for them.  It's hard to keep it all in.

Sometimes, when things are going well, Elliot and his teammates hug one another on the field. Bonded by their shared excitement,  beaming with red faces, gratitude floods in.

 To be ten years old, fighting for the ball, yelling encouragement to your buddies...this is the highlight of Elliot's entire week.

In a complete surprise to everyone, instead of getting clobbered, last night the Hornets made their way to a tie.

Then, out of the blue, one minute before the game's end, Elliot was once again out of position.

So far from where he should have been.

There he stood at the front line, close to the opposing team's goal. He stole the ball and turned to face the goalie.

As the opposing team drew close behind, he kicked hard and the ball soared an inch past the goalie's hands, sailing in an arc and landing safely inside the net.

Parents on the sidelines roared with cheering as I watched my son running and jumping with his hands in the air.

Elliot says he doesn't remember hearing parents and team members cheering.  He was stunned in a moment of shock.

Then the whistle marked the game's end.

But I think this is just the beginning.

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