Friday, April 26, 2013


If the key to raising well-adjusted kids is to involve them in enjoyable activities without forcing anything on them, that second part is getting easier by the day. In fact, I’m not forcing anything on anyone right now as I sit here wiped out on the couch after a day of soccer, rosy-cheeked and rosy-necked even though the temperature today never once eclipsed 29 degrees.   I totally don’t force my kids to commit to an activity every day of my life, and I will continue to not do so tomorrow. Oh so you DON’T want to play lacrosse and take full Saturdays and half Sundays of Mandarin lessons? NO PROBLEM HERE. You’d rather spill the entire box of Trix directly under my feet? BY ALL MEANS. Here, I’ll help you tramp them into the carpet. Just so I can do it sitting down.
The hard part is finding something they actually like. We watch our share of televised sports, so there was exposure at an early age to football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Of course the first sport they picked was soccer.

Growing up I’ll admit I was never a fan of soccer as a either a spectator sport or a participation sport, which doesn’t leave much today except as an “it’s-either-this-or-Caillou" sport, in which case it’s fine. I get annoyed on nights where there are 45 major college basketball games, 12 NBA games, and 10 NHL games, and 7 of SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays are soccer goals. (Though I understand the school of thought that all soccer goals are life-changing and should be thus celebrated.) I still get annoyed at the ESPN crawler that teases with “Score Alert” only to see that Man U and Tottenham are still knotted at nil-nil in the 200th minute. (Are those even teams? That play each other?)

The reason for my distaste for soccer of course, is that I’m a total simp. Soccer’s greatest characteristic is that it involves way more strategy than just “kick the ball into that huge goal.” So it’s like chess on a football field…the fun just never stops. 
And any sport where you couldn’t use your hands was not for me. The only player who can use his hands is the goalie, who is charged with covering a net the size of the ground floor of the Smithsonian. Someday someone will satisfactorily explain to me why soccer has goalkeepers.

Soccer, then, is the perfect sport for my kids to play. I know nothing about it, so if anyone screws up, like a night at the symphony, I'll have no idea. except this will probably be far from harmonic.

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