Getting Kids Ready for a New Soccer Season

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Get Kids Ready for Soccer

More excitement in the sports section of my family. A new season means a new sport for The Boy. It’s been football for the past two autumns. This time, the child has decided to change gears and play youth soccer. We’re getting kids ready for a new soccer season.

I was never much for soccer, although I have learned to appreciate it in recent years. My children playing also gives it an added appeal. This is my son’s first soccer season. I tried to give him a little insight to the game. He wasn’t interested.

It’s a season full of “firsts” for The Boy this time. This is his first time playing soccer. He’s not playing with any of his friends. They’re either playing football or not playing a sport at all. I told him this could be a chance for him to make new friends. He wasn’t so sure when he heard that.

There are some adjustments on The Boy’s part. After two football seasons, he’s moved to soccer, and he can’t use his hands. I’ve constantly reminded him of this since it’s pretty much the only thing I know about soccer; That and the games are usually low-scoring.

The first order of business for me was to read the coach’s email and see what is needed for games and practices. I knew my son needed a water bottle. We’d figure out the rest at the first practice.

Soccer Practice

We were at the first practice of the season. The Boy needed cleats, and believe me, we looked everywhere when it came to finding cleats. The coach said not to worry about it since it was only the first practice of the season.

Soccer practice

I had a couple of days before the game to find the cleats. It became a mission for me and The Boy. We needed to get the cleats anyway, but going to one store, then two stores, then five stores and coming up empty-handed added an element of adventure and challenge that was not easy for us.

I think one problem was The Boy’s size. He was at the top of Boys’ sizes and the bottom of Youth’s. Being in between made it a little difficult to find something to fit him. We did find a pair of cleats from time to time, but what we found was too small for him. He insisted he could squeeze his feet in there because it was only a couple of hours.

“No, Joe Jackson,” I said to him. “We’ll find shoes that will fit you, and you don’t need to play in pain.”

He insisted he could squeeze his feet in there because it was only a couple of hours. I said, “No, Joe Jackson. We’ll find you shoes that will fit you, and you don’t need to play in pain.”

He wasn’t happy with my decision, but he went along with it.

Finding a Store for Soccer Cleats

In the middle of our cleat-seeking adventures, I learn of a store that’s not too far away from us. I don’t mind taking the drive, especially with one of my children. We get to the store. It’s a soccer store. Dedicated to soccer and nothing else. Only soccer.

The store isn’t too far away, but it is far enough that we won’t be able to make it there in time for cleats to wear for the first game of the season. I thought it would only be one practice without cleats, now it looks like it will only be one practice and one game (hopefully).

Driving to the First Soccer Game of the Season Together

The season-opener is on the road. We need to be in the car and on our way in time for a quick practice/refresher session before the first game of the season.

Wife isn’t home. She needs to take care of some things that day, but she will be making every attempt to be at the game. It’s late in the day, so she feels good about making it.

Despite our best attempts to get everything done and out of the way before the game, we are behind schedule. I send a message to the coach and inform him we are on our way but will not be on time for the pre-game drills.

While driving, I keep an eye on my phone in case there’s anything from the coach on our way. Sure enough there is something from the coach.

There is a notification on my phone. I need to pull over. After pulling over, I look at my phone. I rub my eyes and look at the phone again. Apparently, the game was never scheduled for Saturday as the schedule erroneously said. It’s scheduled for Sunday. On one hand, the schedule change cuts into beers and football scheduled for Sunday. On the other hand, it means we won’t be late, after all.

Finding the Right Pair of Soccer Cleats

I contact wife and tell her about the actual schedule. We get back home and hit the reset button. There is suddenly some extra time to find the cleats and take care of things around the house.

We get back into the car later that afternoon. We make it to the store. It is an enormous building dedicated to soccer and only soccer. We look at the cleats on the wall. There is a pair that look like it could pass muster. We ask to see the cleats in The Boy’s size.

The nice person working at the store retreats to the storeroom and returns with a box. The Boy tries them on. The cleats are a little big, but he likes the look and the extra room for his feet. He’ll grow as the season goes along, so that extra space will come in handy.

Soccer cleats for The Boy.

Getting Dad and Kids Ready for the Soccer Game

The Boy is getting ready for his game, and I need to do the same as a fan.

For me, watching my son’s games means I need to wear attire that matches my son’s team. I’m always looking for shirts that match the uniforms. It’s my own special way of supporting the team.

Decked out for the game.

This is soccer, though, and soccer fans are always decked out in team jerseys, scarfs, and face paint. I was able to find a shirt that matched The Boy’s, and Wife has a scarf that has our town colors. We arrive at the game. I’m in the team colors. We take our seats. I look around, and I’m disappointed there is no concession stand selling snacks. I’m hungry.

Wife and I take in the game. It’s a tough one, as they lose, 2-1. There was some excitement, and The Boy made some great plays out there. I’m looking forward to his next game. He’ll have a practice before that, and that will give the team a chance to work on their skills before that. On both days, I’ll be looking forward to watching my son.

Follow me on Twitter for more insights on parenting and how to fake it as an adult. @bravedaddy

Pizza Bagels, Video Games, and Batteries

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I needed to drop one of my children at their friend’s house last week. I know the father, so I stayed for a bit and talked over a beer. We were in the living room, where one of his kids was playing video games.

Video Games

I’ve met a lot of kids over the course of parenthood, foster parenting, coaching, school pickup and drop-off, and a variety of other circumstances and duties. I think teens are the funniest, and this encounter with another life expert who is still in high school was no exception. Loyal daddies and mommies are familiar with our friend Wilt. Wilt was a child of another friend who seemed to know everything about life, especially basketball. Check out the link I so generously provided. If you have teenagers, you’ll understand what I’m telling you.

I think teenagers are the funniest, and this encounter with another life expert who is still in high school is no exception.

My child and I arrive at the house and the younger children quickly disappear upstairs. I remain downstairs, where “15” is dealing with one of the many challenges you face when trying to assemble a team on a video game. Dad is also in the living room finishing up work before getting ready to go out for the evening. It’s not an easy time for “15”. He’s playing a soccer game on his console, and he’s trying to assemble a national team. Apparently American soccer players are few and far between, and the good ones are even harder to find. I would like to help him, but I know nothing about who plays soccer, let alone where they hail from.

My friend and I watch “15” scroll through lists of players and their attributes. I offer whatever advice I can, but nothing works. The game works in a certain way, and you can’t just create a player and place him on your team. I literally haven’t played a soccer video game since last century, so I’m pretty much useless.

The Smoke Alarm

It gets harder for “15”. Not only does the field of available players lack what he needs, but the battery in the living room’s smoke alarm died, and there is an annoying “chirp” signaling the need for a new one. Each shrill call for a new battery is grating on the virtual general manager, who is having enough headaches with his lacking roster. He’s finally had enough, and he marches to the smoke detector, pulls it from the wall, and then the real struggle begins.

“15” has the smoke detector in his hands. The battery needs to be replaced, but first the old battery needs to be extracted. The Chinese water torture is getting to be too much for the lad, who can get the compartment open, but can’t get the battery out. Dad is enjoying this and so am I, to be honest with you. Finally, I show mercy to the poor child and take the battery out for them. After said extraction, I hold up the 9-volt nemesis and sing, “Ta-daa!” Now it’s time for a new battery, but there is no 9-volt battery in the house. So, the smoke detector sits on the end table sans battery for the time being.

A New Battery

I return home to take care of some chores and duties while my child is away at her friends. My friend has plans that evening, so I am sure to be there promptly to take my child home. I arrive at the house with a gift for “15”. A brand new 9-volt battery. To this day, I am mad at myself for not putting a bow on it.

Loaded and ready

I proudly present the lad with the gift and the life lesson. He installs the battery and places the smoke detector back in its proper place. Dad and I are proud of the child for doing his part to keep the house and his family safe and secure. Now, it’s back to video games where he has moved on from soccer to basketball. Dad and I are watching him scroll through teams and players. “15” makes some comments about Larry Bird, causing Dad to educate his child about Bird and Bill Russell. Meanwhile, we continue to watch him play.

“Hey, Auerbach,” I say.

“What?”

“I called you ‘Auerbach’.” Dad laughs. The child has no idea what I’m talking about, nor does he understand the reference to his basketball personnel moves.

Pizza Bagels

It’s time for a break in the action. “15” needs food. His dad follows him to the kitchen for a beer. “15” wants to make a pizza bagel. Dad and I watch the child struggle to slice a pre-sliced bagel. We remind the child it’s already pre-sliced, but this doesn’t matter to him because it’s not, “pre-sliced enough”. He gets the bagel sliced and prepares with sauce and toasts it. When it’s done, he has enough grated parmesan cheese for a dozen pizza bagels.

“Hey, Fieri,” I say after a sip of my beer, “Do you want some bagel to go with that cheese?”

One of the beers I received.

He tells me he has a solution and carefully shakes some cheese from one slice of the bagel onto the other slice. He then proceeds to eat the bagel while standing up, back turned to the counter. Crumbs fall to the floor. I tell him I’m willing to bet Dad has invested in some plates for the house. Dad tells me he needs to constantly remind him to use a plate when eating. I had no idea it was so chronic.

Driving home with my child, I ask how things went for them. I get home and enjoy one of the beers my friend sent home with me. My daughter and I watch some important, informative video on Harry Potter. While sipping my beer, I wonder if parents of teenagers were really meant to survive.

My new book, “A Collection of Short Stories” is now available on Apple Books.

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