Saturday, November 19, 2011

Red Soccer

Lainy Ann is just about to complete her 2nd fall season of soccer. Last fall she played U8 and liked it so much that she followed up with a Graduate Season (a season that focused on the rule changes from U8 to U10) and a Spring Season (which was a no practice, no trophies season). Can you believe every uniform has been red so far? *sigh* I was really hoping for some pink with pigtails.

 I wasn't sure she was going to enjoy soccer last year when we signed her up. We have tried many sports for her over the years; ballet, dance, and gymnastics. But when it comes down to it she has energy and loves to be constantly moving. Dance and ballet required too much wait time between turns. Gymnastics requires a tad more coordination than she has (Thanks, Aunt Lainy). But with soccer she really shines.

 At the beginning of the season she told her coach, "I want to be goalie" and he seemed excited about it. Since U10 is a scored league I was sure to pull him aside and explain that Lainy Ann is an enthusiastic player, code for, lots of will not a lot of skill. Coach assured me he would assess everyone's skill level and place them accordingly. I was just worried Lainy Ann would cause the team to lose games. She has done just the opposite. She has blossomed.

 When AYSO announced there would be a free optional goalie clinic every Friday night from 8 to 9:30 pm she jumped at the chance to go. She didn't miss a single practice. She learned to 'boot' the ball, dive block it, and a variety of other techniques I don't know the name of. Occasionally I would suggest she skip a practice since she also had a game at 8 am. Nope. She always wanted to go, even when it was 55* outside. One particular Friday she had school until 2:30, Girl Scouts until 4:30, speech until 5:30, Cub Scouts until 8 pm and then the Goalie Clinic. She would not miss it.

 She has shown such maturity as she plays. She has kept track of all her gear, been able to ready herself and her things before and after games and practices. She has even taken a few hard hits and not given up. I remember one week she got a ball to the face as she was blocking the goal. I thought for sure she would walk off the field and opt for a low-impact sport. Nope, she shook it off and kept playing. As the season comes to a close I have realized she is not the same player she was in August. At the last game the coach had to have her sit out a quarter (as required by the league). I overheard the other players complaining, "but she is the best. Don't sit her out." Then as she walked off the field other parents told her "Good job. Great block" Later another father said in reference to his daughter and to Lainy Ann" . . . . look at the two best players sitting out in the last quarter."

 I have said it before; I'm not really a sports fan. But I am a Lainy-Ann-Fan. I have loved watching her play. She is so true when she plays. All the business, vibrations and silliness fall away and a young lady stands out there on the field who holds herself accountable to her coach and her team. She is quite a wonderful young lady.

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