After The Whistle: Child’s first sports season anything but a regular one

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Ashley Frantz of the Green Dargons. (Photo by Eric Frantz)

My four-year old daughter has a new favorite song: Madonna and Justin Timberlake’s “4 minutes.” The song is appropriate because “4 minutes” is
also the attention span my daughter has when she plays soccer.

Too bad games last 45 minutes.


I’m proud to say I’m no longer dependant on Time Warner for internet, phone or cable.
But as always, TW got one last jab in on the way out.

Thanks to On Demand my four-year old daughter has a new favorite song: Madonna and Justin Timberlake’s “4 minutes.”

The song is appropriate, comical and ironic because “4 minutes” is also the attention span my daughter has when she plays soccer.

Too bad games last 45 minutes.

Ashley started dance last year and that was one thing. Soccer is her first sport. Something totally different.

Ashley enjoys dance and this year is taking two different styles. She sometimes enjoys soccer.

On the field her position is “body.” Her main contribution? Filling out the uniform and providing halftime and after game snacks on the day designated.

She sometimes kicks the ball, often waves to us when she runs by and regularly chews on her shorts string, pushes kids and swings on the crossbar of the goal.

A couple times she’s just simply decided she didn’t want to play anymore during a game and walked off the field.

I’ve talked to her about teamwork and how her team needs her back on the field, but for someone who’s at an age where sharing ranks just above taking a nap, teamwork is a mute point.

So is arguing about it with her – which took me a while to understand.

I’ve never had a child play a sport before, so the experience of being a parent and watching YOUR kid play was new to me. I just assumed she would catch on and enjoy it. I assumed wrong.

Ashley does like soccer, just not as much as princesses, dolls, dancing and anything pink.

It was evident from the beginning that she had some work to do to understand the sport, let alone play it. At the first practice the coach asked the players if anyone had ever played soccer. Ashley raised her hand and promptly told the coach that she’d “gone camping with her daddy before.”

Exactly.

We did go to the park a couple times on our own to kick the ball at the goal and try to teach her what to do, but that lasted about 10 minutes. The rest of the time was spent climbing on the bleachers – something that apparently was more enjoyable and pressing at the time.

Early on it irked me that my daughter didn’t exactly look like the next coming of Mia Hamm or Brandi Chastain, but I learned to adapt. Yes, I had to be taught something too – how to be a supportive parent without being a crazy one.

I learned to relax and noticed that other parents were going through the same thing.
Some kids showed up to games but never went on the field. Other kids showed up and went on the field but – like Ashley – found better things to do than play soccer.

Ashley did score one goal on the season. It came during a game in which the opposing coach held his players back except for one – named Jacob – who helped Ashley score. Jacob’s grandma lives across the street from Ashley’s so those two have a history.

The next game Ashley said she wanted to score another goal. Four minutes into it she wanted to hold hands with her favorite teammate Laney and chase butterflies.

At the last game Ashley’s coach half-joked that she might have played her last soccer game and was probably moving on to bigger and better things – like cheerleading and dance.

Yep. Might have. Might be.

Guess next year we’ll see if she sings a different tune.

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