Monday, October 29, 2007


The eldest has been playing football -- that's soccer to us Americans -- for a number of years. He is now 10, very soon to be 11. He is playing this year with some very, very big boys. Boys who have already hit puberty. Boys with facial hair.

Eldest is not the smallest on his team. There is one boy who is smaller than him. That does not provide eldest much comfort. His stature is of great concern to him, and not just with regard to soccer. When I point out boys in his grade who are smaller than him, he feels a little better. It is only a matter of time, however, before he realizes that nearly all of those smaller than him are Asian.

So, soccer. It is his dad's game, of course, and he initially played soccer and stayed with it even when he wasn't very good because it was his dad's game. He wants his dad to be proud of him. He looks to me for approval on nearly all things he does...except soccer. For soccer, he only cares what his dad thinks.

The past two years, eldest has come into his own with regards to soccer. He tries hard. He is (almost) fearless. He runs. He fights for the ball. He plays hard. And you can nearly always see him seek out his dad whenever he does something particularly good. Or even particularly bad.

And Pete is proud of eldest. He doesn't think eldest will ever be a super soccer star, but he thinks eldest is doing his best. Sadly, this year, eldest's team is in last place. Dead last place. They played 12 games, winning only the first one. Most of the games were excruciatingly close, with eldest's team losing by a mere goal. But losing nonetheless.

Welcome to the age of everyone is a winner. They have a tournament at the end of the season. Many like to call it "play-offs," but I correct them every time. "Play-offs" indicate some level of achievement for the teams playing in them. Since all the teams play -- even the worst ones -- it's a tournament. [I'm quite annoying about this clarification. Or at least other people clearly find me such.]

One game on Saturday. One game on Sunday. Eldest scored two goals Saturday, and his team won 3-1. On Sunday, eldest had one assist, and his team won 2-1. What does this mean, besides having to spend eldest's birthday next Saturday playing another game? It means that if his team wins on Saturday, they end up in the championship game on Sunday. They could end up with trophies in addition to the trophies everyone gets nowadays just for playing.

If Pele were dead, he'd be rolling over in his grave right now.


MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Pele? Snort.

Wow, a champion in the house? Cool!

Jeni said...

I find that pretty cool in that his team finishes in the basement but because everyone plays in the "tournament" (as you explained it to be)his team could end up being the big winner after all. Did I figure that out correctly or do you have to re-explain all the little nuances there to me all over again. Pretty good, any way you cut it though is what I think.

Gill said...

Wouldn't it be marvellous for their morale if they won! School kid sport is a strange and yet wonderful thing ;-) BTW there is a sweet treat for you over at my blog.

Toni said...

Wishing your eldest the best of luck!

I have some concerns about this everybody is a winner and nobody loses business. I know how hard it is to be disappointed but isn't there something about overcoming and getting stronger for it? I've seen lots of specials on TV regarding teens who just don't know how to lose. It cases a whole gamut of trouble later in life.

Oh, well. Off of my soapbox!

It is wonderful your son and husband have something to bond over.

Patois42 said...

I'm with you, Toni. I think it's fine to have everyone be a winner when the kids are younger or to not keep score for T-ball or the younger soccer ages. But I say anyone over 8 or so should start understanding that there are winners and losers. That's why calling it "play-offs" irks me to no end.

D... said...

I agree with you & Toni. We are raising a generation of kids with entitlement issues. I try very hard to make sure my 2 are the exception.

My son is short in stature too. It's hard on him because his daddy is so tall. Shoot, I'm just aiming for him to be taller than 5' ME! Hee! But, I do find myself obsessing about it. I must stop that. I must.

Linda said...

I just don't get this whole "everyone wins" concept of sports these days, I really don't. Back when I was a kid I played on several softball teams and there was always a first place team, a second place team, and a third place team - beyond that there were teams that played. I never felt slighted, I never felt inferior, I never felt left out but when my team did well enough to bring home a trophy then I sure felt good!

If we're going to teach our kids that everyone is a winner and there are no losers then don't we need to make that apply to the wonderful world of adult sports, too? Just imagine - no more Super Bowl, no more World Series, no more Masters Tournaments of golf - everyone's a winner and everyone goes home happy! Yeah - right!!!

N. said...

Do people think kids are stupid? Like they can't spot a pity trophy at a hundred paces?

But enough about me and my archaic ideas on parenting: yeah for Eldest! Good job all around! Don't be a quitter!

This just proves that talent wins out over size every time. And no, this is not suppose be misconstued as a pick-up line.


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