9to5to9: Falling in love with the tough girls
This award goes annually to the players Big Guy can learn the most from, not necessarily about soccer but about life. Last year the honor went to Lucille Ball, a redheaded cartwheeling comic who never hesitated to lay Big Guy flat every time he pulled her hair. By the end of the season, he quit trying.
This year, recognition goes to Upside Down Girl and Brazil.
Upside Down Girl is stylish, with a fashionable asymmetrical razor cut and pink shin guards. She also has the most amazing ability to stand on her head and remain for ages, a skill that comes in handy for entertainment if nothing else when stuck playing goalie.
Actually most of the team likes playing goalie. That confounds Big Guy's soccer jock dad, for whom goalie is the ultimate sports ghetto. When you're 4 or 5, though, the appeal is in having a position you can understand. See ball, stop ball. It's simple.
Upside Down Girl started practice tonight wrestling with a boy. She won and spanked his butt. Literally. Big Guy either didn't see that or failed to learn from it and got the same treatment a half hour later. I smiled as I fondly remembered Lucille Ball.
Brazil came to the first practice ready to play, decked out in a Roberto Rivelino replica Brazilian national team uniform, matching hair clips and pigtail holders. She wore the ensemb to school today, so soccer appears to be no passing fancy for her.
She's intense from the second warm-ups start, her fast feet furiously moving the ball down the field. Such deft dribbling is rare among the small fry -- usually they grasp the long kick first. This is going to be interesting, I thought. Big Guy also has fast feet, and he's not used to being challenged. This kid could do it.
And sure enough, the first time they went up against each other today, Brazil took the ball and squirted past Big Guy. That's right -- she took the ball. Five-year-olds generally can't play defense. She can.
So in a span of a half hour, Big Guy got knocked on his can by one girl and beaten on the field by another. I love it.
It's not that I take pee wee soccer seriously -- at this age, sports should be about fun. Fun, though, is the way children learn, and I'm all for mixing a few valuable lessons in with the exercise and sunshine.'
And it's not that I like to see my son woman-handled or defeated. But I do like that he's learning from an early age that girls are his equal and that he bloody well better respect them and their abilities.
That's where the folks raising my generation goofed up. They told us that we could do, achieve anything. But they forgot to tell the boys.
So thank you, Upside Down Girl and Brazil, for helping me make sure Big Guy gets that message.
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.