Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, October 30, 2016

lacing up the cleats

 I went to watch a little buddy of mine play soccer yesterday. Oliver is four and just a friend, no relation. It has been a while since I saw him last and he didn't remember who I was. No matter, that is to be expected. He had his soccer gear on, complete with cleats. I didn't know they made soccer cleats that small ! Very cute. Anyway the warmup period was little more than organized chaos and the game about the same. The thing is it was all about having fun. At his age they call it " happy feet " and it is aptly named. Yes, they were encouraged to make a goal and I think everyone got that chance. Very difficult to get children to pay attention for more than thirty seconds or so at that age. Overall it was fun to watch.
 Oliver wasn't the only child to have cleats. It appears that the majority did. I really don't think the children were paying any attention to that and I really don't think it makes a difference. That will come later on. Parents were naturally encouraging their children to " play " the game. Interesting to watch how the kids react to that. Some went after the ball and tried to move it downfield. Others seemed disinterested in that altogether. If you were paying attention you could see the difference in abilities between those children. One little girl was a standout. She moved the ball and kicked it well, scoring a " goal " every time. Natural ability ? I'm certain others will bloom at a later time. I can remember watching my own grandson go through the various stages.
 I think it is a wonderful thing to have these " leagues " organized and open for all the kids. Yes, there is a fee associated with them and the cost of equipment for the players. I'm certain some do not play for that very reason. That is unfortunate but a part of life I suppose. I believe there are programs in place to help with those situations. Another part of me wonders if all this " organized " playtime isn't a detriment to social growth. What I mean is, if all their social activities are organized and monitored  is that preparing them for the real world ? Remember when you didn't get picked for the team ? There was a reason for that and it usually centered around your ability. You did have to learn to accept that rejection. Now, if you sign up, you make the team. Pay to play. Is that a good thing ? Perhaps it is, perhaps I think too much about these things. You still have to make the team at school. Could be this pay for play is the only avenue some will have to play an organized sport.
 What started me on this train of thought was the cleats. I'm certain the parents bought those cleats to properly outfit their child. I'm as equally certain it was done with the best of intentions for the safety and well being of the children. In doing so I think the child may be influenced. Not when they are too little to understand but later as they do begin to comprehend. Are we pushing the children to be more " professional " by the requirement of having the proper equipment ? Is that something that is being unintentionally taught ? Are we placing more emphasis on the equipment, training and professional aspect of the game rather than just having fun ? I know for myself my favorite games were always pick-up games. Maybe that was because I didn't meet the " professional " standards. I only played for fun. Yes, it was more fun to win but I learned to lose. Maybe I think this way because I never made the team. Fact is, I never tried. Watching from the sidelines is far easier. What if my parents had laced up the cleats ? Might be a different blog altogether. Could be I am watching progress. Progress can be unsettling when you begin to age. Maybe that is what I'm feeling.