Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Did It!

So we have also started Alden in soccer this fall.  Any of you who have seen three-year olds play soccer know that it is more like a rugby scrum than anything--mashed bodies, pushing, shoving, and the ball eventually squirts out somewhere.  Good coaching consists of just getting  your players to remember which way they are supposed to kick the ball (don't laugh, it is not as easy as it sounds!).  Some teams only show up with two or three players (and one of those will wander off the field for "a little break" right in the middle of the play).
But this chaos of premature competition was a real joy for me this weekend. 

Let me put it in context.  The first week Alden had a game, he didn't want to play.  I told him he had to.  He sat on the field and cried.  No running, no kicking; just tears, pouting and sitting. I never lost my temper, but I told him if he didn't play, I would not let him watch TV for the rest of the weekend.  That at least got him to stay out on the field.  After that we went home, and I found he had a temperature of 102.9 -- BAD DAD! REALLY BAD DAD! I felt like a one of those psycho sports parents -- and that is a very dark feeling! 

Anyway, the next week, no one was sick, and I promised a trip to Blockbuster and the donut store if he tried really hard to kick the ball.  And whaddya know, he had a great time. Ran all over, smiled, laughed, kicked, and mixed it up with the best of them.  

That brings us to yesterday.  He did great again. Yes, the other team was undermanned. And yes, if anyone was counting, the other team actually won.  But Alden actually scored a goal!  

(Moments before the fateful strike!)

He ran off the field and shouting, "I did it!" "I really did it!"  He was at once surprised and pleased and feeling like he had achieved something he didn't think he knew how do do.  And I haven't had that much fun in quite a long time.  Great going, little buddy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Proud of our Girl II

First, a brief but heartfelt sorry! One post in August (and not checking anyone else's blog :-0) is simply not acceptable. We will try to be better this month.

But this post is not about that -- it is about our Great Kate.  She started soccer last week, and is busily applying the lessons learned from her "Joseph" (the play she was in) experience, which are: (1) work hard to do your best; and (2) have fun. We have now added a third: try to get better each time.  From these pictures of her in action with the Bountiful Blue Sharks (go team!), I hope you can see she is doing well at all of those.

Here she is running with her good friend and team-mate Brianne.

Check out that intense concentration on the ball!

Getting set for a great kick.

Not afraid to mix it up!

We are very proud of the effort she is putting in!  And lest any of you think she is just a jock . . . 

The other night I was watching the democratic convention, when Kate came down and sat beside me. After a few minutes, she said "Dad, I know it is probably too late, but I really wish you would vote for John McCain!"  (My enthusiasm for Obama is by now well known around our house.)  

I replied, "Why do  you want me to do that, Kate?"  

"Because HE is against drugs and seems like a really nice man.  Besides, I am not sure this Obama has enough experience."  (This is a direct, verbatim quote, I kid you not, and was stated with great enthusiasm and intensity, and with particular emphasis on the word "he".)

Trying not to laugh, I asked Kate where she learned this, to which she replied, "Oh, from the commercial on TV."  

I was tempted to tell her that you can't really believe everything you see on TV, especially political commercials, but I refrained.  Instead, I told her I was thrilled that she was paying attention, and I hoped she would keep studying who would make the best President.  Nonetheless, I couldn't resist concluding with a whispered "By the way, I think Obama is against drugs too, because he has two girls about your age."  To which she responded, "Oh well, I guess anyone will be better than President Bush; he's terrible!"  

I still chuckle about that one, and I think it fair to say that no one can call my eight-year old daughter uninformed. 

As if to prove the point, just as Kate was leaving, the cameras panned to Hillary Clinton, and Kate exclaimed "Hey, there's Hillary!"  Mind you, it is not like we have big Hillary Clinton posters at our house or anything, and I can't recall ever discussing anything about Mrs. Clinton with Kate.  (The funniest comment came next though: "So who is that guy next to her?")

Whatever 99% of my neighbors think about Hillary, I was very grateful for the tone in my daughter's voice that all but said 'she's a woman and she ran for President.'  It was educational, to say the least, to see how Kate identified with her.  So I guess any way you look at it, this year has been a banner year for politics in the Bailey household.

P.S. Sorry to all you Republicans out there, but don't worry, Kate may yet talk me out of it.