The boys are playing soccer now, in a non-competitive league. I know, I know. The real world is competitive. Kids need to learn how to deal with failure. Everyone wins is unrealistic. Blah, blah, blah, save it. Boy is what I would nicely call "not athletic" and not-so-nicely call "gawky and uncoordinated." Bless his heart. Other Boy is much more graceful, but maybe gives like, half a shit about what he's doing. Oh, there's the ball, I should probably kick it? But we insisted that they pick an activity that did not involve Mario dodging red shells or Om Nom and rope cutting, so soccer it was.
My husband is the volunteer coach (I find him in a T-shirt that reads 'coach' far more alluring than I probably should), and I ended up keeping stats. I know nothing about soccer aside from a general notion of kicking a ball into a goal. My dad was keeping statistics for the other team, he also knows nothing about soccer. We made quite a duo. But no matter, because in this league we seem to have mostly the kids who need this type of low-pressure environment. Think Bad News Bears, but minus the heartwarming moment when the ragtag group of misfits pulls through and wins the championship. And no Walter Matthau (a shame).
Halfway through the game my stat sheet was looking pretty empty. A couple of saves. No goals or assists or sweeps, whatever the hell those are. I wanted to draw a new chart with categories such as: "Did not fall when attempting to kick ball." And "actually managed to kick ball." Or even "ran towards the correct goal." I did end up adding "good hustle." (That's a thing right?) Just trying to be optimistic. It was a far more entertaining game than professional soccer, at any rate. And everyone had fun. You wouldn't think that kids running around just being kids would be such a revolutionary idea, but it turns out that it kind of is.
Let's face it: neither of my boys will be taking over the world with their soccer skills. Hell, they're probably more likely to use the skills they're learning launching digital birds at digital pigs (at least that's what I like to tell myself. I have to sleep at night somehow.) But that's ok. And to a country that's obsessed with competition and winning, I say: don't discount the awkward loser misfits, we're taking over the world; one witty, irreverent blog post at a time.