Tomorrow Megan’s soccer team is playing in a soccer tournament. Our township is hosting this one which is nice, short ride to the field and the ability to stop home between games if we want. The tournament itself started tonight but her team has all 3 games tomorrow.
After an awful fall with no wins a tie and the rest losses, the coach made some changes. First he brought on an assistant to help him to work more closely with the girls in practice. The practices are definitely more high impact and the girls are more focused. He also pointed out something that we all saw very clearly, our little girls were in terrible shape. They would come onto the field full of steam to play but within a few minutes were out of gas. By the second half our girls were flat-footed to put it nicely.
Do not misunderstand me, none of us parents cared about the losses but seeing 7-8 year olds unable to play for the full-time was concerning. Twice a week in practice they now start and finish with a half mile run for a total of 1 mile. The first time Megan had to complete the run we had tears, lots of them! Before she even started she told me she would never be able to finish. It was tough for me to watch, I even went out and jogged part of the last lap with her to try to get her through.
It has been 4 weeks now and the results are showing. The team’s record is 2-1-1 and they play much stronger. With the tournament this weekend all of the fields have been closed in preparation. Coach wanted to make sure the girls were focused so he had them show up at the park Thursday night for a run. When we arrived we were informed that the distance would be 2 miles. No timers, no winners just finish and NO walking. Wow…I will admit I was worried. I whispered in Megan’s ear a reminder, breath, pace yourself and do not worry about what anyone else is doing or where you are in the group just stay focused and finish.
I stood with the father of another girl from the team and we watched the girls pass us, (each lap is a half mile). After the first mile I gave her a small drink and told her how great she was doing. After the next lap she was struggling but on ward she went. At the end of the fourth lap the coach patted each girl on the back as they came across told them to grab a water and walk one more for cool down. I walked with her with pride. My baby who literally almost collapsed the first run had just completed twice the distance with no tear and told me that although her legs felt like jelly she felt great!
I will admit that at first I thought the coach was a bit rough. He was asking too much from little kids. Sometimes it takes events like this to remind me, although I want to protect them from every ouch, every pain, I can not wrap them in bubble wrap. The best way to protect them is to ensure that they are strong, healthy and confident. I don’t know what the results of the games will be but I am sure that the girls will play hard and with confidence, and in the end that is all we could ever hope.
Today was day 2 of the soccer tournament. The final score from todays game was 3-3 but the effort was awesome to watch. The girls came ready to play and Megan was excellent. For a team of 8-year-old girls who was just assembled a month ago a record of 1-1-1 for the 2 day tournament is not too bad! I am a big believer in the old adage that it is not about if you win or lose but how you play the game. After the big loss yesterday Meg was a little upset. I tried to explain that wins and losses will happen and we learn from both. Now, those who know me, know that I am an extremely competitive person. I like to win, but what I love is heart and effort. What I told Megan was to think about what she could do differently. We talked about both games from yesterday and what she could do to improve today. I was so proud of her and even more important she was proud of herself and her team! They will not win every game but the improvement from yesterday was awesome!
Today was the best I have felt since the nipple reconstruction and breast revision. That makes me very happy because I need to get back to life this week. Wednesday morning I have a doctor’s appointment where I expect to be cleared for some activity. Two hours later I have met the teacher with my baby, I hope Kindergarten is ready for her! I need to be driving by Wednesday so I need to be narcotic free! Hopefully tomorrow is better than today and Tuesday better than that!
The day started at 5:30 this morning…rise and shine! We made it to the soccer tournament by 7:30. The field was what seemed like miles from the car. We made to field six, set up the chairs when of course everyone had to go to the bathroom.
Back to the parking lot we go for the girls first ever visit to the port-o-potty. That in itself was a production, “How do I lock the door?”, “Where is the sink?”, “What, we don’t flush?”.
Once everyone had completed their business, back to the field we hike. The game had not even started and I was already exhausted. I stated to rethink whether it had been a good idea for me to have gone to the game.
For the next hour I got to just sit and watch the game, which was wonderful with our girls winning 3-0. Megan looked great out on the field and the girls were having fun. My doubts about going were replaced with thoughts of pride.
Between games back to the bathroom, another long hike and a move to field four.
The second game was a little tougher. This was the first time our girls had ever played together as a team, the first time ever playing on a large field, and the first time ever playing two games in one day, and it showed. By the time the game started it was about 85-90 degrees and full sun. By the end of the game the other team, who was very good was running circle around our hot, exhausted and about to drop girls.
Sometimes the best lessons are the hardest to learn. Coach did a nice job picking them up at the end. They are 8 years old and lots to learn.
All the way back to the car and in pain. Thank goodness it was over because I had more than enough. I was so happy I could make the game and will be there again tomorrow. BUT I was thrilled when it was time to leave.
I dream for a pain free day and normalcy!