Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, October 09, 2006

There's No Crying in Soccer

Em complained of a headache much of yesterday afternoon. But we were helping get ready for a Sukkot dinner at our synagogue, and I figured she had just hit the end of her helpfulness rope. That feeling was seemingly confirmed by the fact that, once the dinner party began, she was in rare form.

But on the way home, full of food and fun with friends, she began to complain again. By this morning, the headache had turned into a full-blown fever.

"Well it's a good thing you don't have school today anyway, because I wouldn't let you go!" I announced cheerily. (For the record, they're not off for Columbus Day; they're off for a 'teacher work day.' Columbus has definitely fallen by the wayside in this town.)

"But I can still go to soccer practice tonight, right?" she asked eagerly.

"Absolutely not!" I replied.

Tears. Sobs.

"Whoa, whoa, calm down," I said. "Let's see how you're doing later, and we can discuss it then, OK?"

Thus began the hourly requests for more Tylenol to make sure her fever would be down, and the half-hourly temp checks. ("Mom, I'm down to 99.6. Is that low enough?" "Mom, I'm only up to 100.3. Can I go?")

By 5:30, her temp was down to 99.0, thanks to two hits of Tylenol during the day, and I decided to give her a break.

"OK," I said, "here's the deal. You can go to practice with Dad [Baroy is the team's assistant coach, so has to attend the practices whether Em's there or not], and you can do the drills. But you have to sit out the scrimmage, because I don't want you to push your body too hard when you're sick. OK?"

She nodded OK, but her eyes, brimming with tears, said something else entirely.

"Oh for god's sake!" I exploded. "I ought to keep you home completely. Why are you being like this!"

"It's just that I love soccer so much!" she wailed. "And I want to get better at it. I just don't want to miss a minute of practice!"

I have to say that, although I held my ground--I've always considerd my number one job as a mother to make sure she stays safe and healthy--inside, I was so proud and pleased with her. She has real drive, that kid. Real commitment. She loves playing this game, despite her growing realization that she's not one of the best players out there. She's finding her niche: It's become obvious that she's much better as a defender than she is when playing offense, and she's begun agitating to stay in defense throughout the games, despite the fact that there's no glory in the backfield. And she's working at getting better and better in that niche. And she's doing this to no particular end, either; she doesn't seem to have dreams of playing professional ball or anything like that. She just loves being in it, part of a team, striving to win.

She couldn't be less like her mother--especially her mother as a child. And yet, her mother couldn't be prouder of her. Tears and all.

free hit counter