My Soccer Mom duties began very early this morning. I seemed to have existed in a semi-conscious state throughout most of the night because somewhere around 5:00 a.m. I needed to make sure my husband got out of bed to take my third son to the bus for soccer camp. I take my Soccer Mom duties seriously….I do what I can. I didn’t really need to worry about it though because this particular son has always been very good at getting up and getting to his stuff on time, and he was more than capable of waking his dad. He’s got a lot of me in him though as he tends to subconsciously worry about things….as is exhibited when he gets up in the middle of the night to get ready sometimes. And, when that happens, there’s a slight possibility that he may oversleep. So, just to cushion the anxiety about getting up in time this morning, I helped him out by sleeping lightly and restlessly all night. You’re welcome, Son.
Soccer is the first sport I put any of my kids in….even before swimming lessons. Why? Whenever the city’s recreation brochure arrived in the mail, I would scour it to see if there was anything in which my kids were old enough to participate because I was aware that parents put their kids in activities. I didn’t grow up participating in any activities other than swim lessons (we just played in the neighborhood). But with my kids, it seemed it was the thing to do once they were old enough to take part in anything because that’s what every other parent was doing with their children. I was such a sheep. Now a days I don’t worry so much about keeping up with what all the other parents and kids are doing.
Anyway, they had to be four for swimming lessons….unless they did the Mommy & Me class, but HELLO…..I was knee deep in boys by the time the oldest was three, so Mommy & Me was OUT! But, soccer….back in the day they let kids start soccer at the age of three. As my brood grew, the age changed to four; but my first three all began at the age of three. So, soccer it was! I didn’t ask them. I just signed them up, took them to “practices”, and showed up to cheer for them at the games. When they were little, those games were priceless to watch. It was such a simple, innocent pleasure watching these clueless, adorable three year olds run around to try to kick the ball without touching it. Or, they would play in the grass….oblivious to the game being played around them.
As with all the children out on the field, some of my kids “got it” and some didn’t. Some of them enjoyed it, while others tolerated it. Most of them played soccer for a few years. But, my Jordan not only understood the game fully at the age of three, but he LOVED it. He has been passionate about soccer his whole life. It is his thing. This picture shows him in one of his first games at the age of three. The shirt was a little big and/or he was a little small. But, what he lacked in size he made up for in determination and tenacity. He always showed up to play hard and win the game.
Through the years he has played on various recreational teams depending on our moves….always excelling and giving 110% on the field. When he reached the age for tryouts, he played a year with his age group, then a year with boys at the next age up as he was preparing himself for high school soccer and wanted more of a challenge. High school soccer came, and he made the varsity team as a freshman. Everything was going his way, and he was having the time of his life.
But, then we moved. Not only did we move, but we moved to a state which does not allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports. Because our state had allowed homeschooler participation, I never even considered a state wouldn’t; and, regretfully, I never checked into it. Hindsight is 20/20.
So, Jordan made the best of it, tried to stay positive, and joined a club team in a nearby city . He was playing with boys older than himself once again, but this time he didn’t know any of them….and it made a difference. The joy for the game was quickly lost to the point that he chose to not try out for the next season. I was surprised to see our days of schlepping soccer chairs across various soccer fields every Saturday morning come to an abrupt end. I didn’t see it coming. But, I also wasn’t going to force him to play if he wasn’t enjoying it anymore.
He had a plan though. His plan was to keep practicing, gain strength and size, and somehow find a way to play. He joined adult leagues, he played with whoever showed up at the field on Saturday mornings, he played with all different nationalities even when he didn’t know what they were saying. Soccer is and was their universal language so it worked out for him. He was beginning to love to play again….the joy was returning. One nice young gentleman even stepped in to offer to train him one-on-one because he could see the potential and passion Jordan has for soccer. I believe God placed him in Jordan’s path for a purpose. Jordan was wise enough to accept his offer. Yes. He could have been a weirdo, stalker, serial killer kind of guy. But he’s not. He truly was and is a good man simply following his heart to help.
But, one thing was still missing….the chance to try to earn a scholarship to play college soccer. At one point, Jordan planned to try to walk onto a team at college. But, after much perseverance and working through many hurdles, hoops and obstacles; Jordan found a way to play high school soccer for this upcoming season. It was not a simple process as the high schools in our district do not have soccer programs for high schoolers. He had to find a way to be allowed to play as a transfer student in the next county. Because he’s out-of-district, and because he has been home schooled his whole life, the process has been lengthy. But, this fall he will enter the public school system for the first time as a senior in high school so that he can have a chance to fulfill his dream to play collegiate soccer.
This morning we put him on a bus with his new team as they headed to Missouri for a four-day camp in the 100 degree temperatures. The kid has GOT to love soccer to do that! It will be a first for us to have a child in the public school system. There will be much to learn as we are unfamiliar with the whole system, and it’s been thirty years since I was part of a public school system. It’s a little intimidating to go from a homeschool class of one to a 6-A school with class sizes in the hundreds. I have no doubt he will do fine. I hope the very best for him. I hope and pray that it is a good year, a growing year, and a year filled with making memories and dreams come true. And, what will it do for his socialization? That remains to be seen.