My mom and Grandma came down for the game, and we loaded up in my mom’s van and headed up to the soccer fields. For Christmas, my parents gave us this enormous Fisher Price wagon. It has an umbrella, a cooler, and it converts into a bench. It is perfect for sideline sitting, so we hauled it up to the field for Gracie to sit in while Bean played. Turns out, Nana is more comfortable than a wagon.
Only four kids from each team play at a time, and Bean was on the first group of kids. Chris and I were super proud. Bean was on the first string. Clearly, his coach recognized his gift for the game.
But about three or four minutes into the game, it became apparent that Bean really had no interest in the soccer ball. We kept yelling, “Go get the ball, Michael!” And he would run right up to the ball… and then just stand there. And smile. It was like he was thinking, “Look! I’m standing next to the ball! I’m awesome!”
When they pulled Bean out of the game to give other kids a chance to play, Bean discovered that sideline sitting is actually more fun than playing the game. He loved hanging out with Chris and when I’d pour cold water down his back. He liked talking to Nana and having other parents tell him what a great soccer player he was. Basically, he loved having fans, but he wasn’t a fan of the game himself.
By the end of the game, Chris and I were having to literally drag Bean out onto the field. And then he’d stand there, feet planted, not moving an inch. Even when the ball came sailing right by him, he’d just stand there. It was sort of frustrating, and I found myself thinking, “Maybe he’s a baseball player…” But then I started to notice that most of the three-year-old players were doing the same thing. They were just too little to realize what they were supposed to be doing, and so they got overwhelmed and just froze.
In the middle of the field.
But all the four-year-old parents on our team told us that their kids had done the same thing the first year, and that it was all part of just learning what to do as part of a team. I hope so. Right now, we just have to get Bean back out there again on Saturday for his second game. Any time we ask him about soccer right now, he just talks about sitting in the shade with Gracie.
All things considered, it was a successful first game! Bean had a great time, we all cheered for him, and – the best part? – the coach’s wife brought great treats after the game!
I think soccer season is going to be pretty awesome. Which isn’t a surprise because Bean Man is pretty awesome. Chris pointed out that one of the best parts about Bean is that he’ll try anything. Swimming lessons? Sure! Music classes? Why not! Soccer games? Sounds great! His friendly, flexible and willing personality is going to create lots of great experiences for our whole family.
I love that kid.