Today is a big day in my house. Particularly for my oldest son B.
He is 13 years old, in 7th grade and LOVES soccer. (He’s quite good at it if I do say so myself!)
He tried out last May for a travel team (when he was 12) – first time trying out for anything and he did great. However, there were not enough kids to form a U13 team to put him on. But the coach saw something special in him and offered him a spot to train with the U14 team.
This meant he would come to all the practices and get the same amount of training as the 14 year olds but would not play in any games. We left the decision up to him. He decided that was something he wanted to do.
Practices started August 10, 2015. Two practices per week in the fall and 12 games in the fall. One practice per week for the winter/indoor season and 10 games for indoor. He worked his butt off and decided (on his own) that he wanted to go to every single game even though he wasn’t playing. He sat on the sidelines with the coach for every game (he only missed one game out of the 23 games they had all year!). He never complained, moaned, groaned or stopped smiling about his “position” on the team.
His teammates treated him like one of their own. They begged the coach to put him in during the last outdoor game in the Fall (as much as he wanted to, he has to follow the rules and can’t play a player that is not registered with the Soccer League). Because the indoor season is a little more lenient, B did play in a couple indoor games when the team was short players. And you would have thought he won the lottery! He was so happy. He was in his element.
Fast forward to three weeks before the spring season starts. We asked the coach if he was considering putting him on the roster. He said he wanted to see him during the first two weeks of practice (4 practices) to have him “tryout”. One of those practices was cancelled, so the last day of “tryout” was pushed to the Monday after the first game.
B was bummed knowing he had to go to yet another game as the “outsider”. But we told him this could very well be the last one and next time he may just be playing.
Well, that statement is coming true. At the next practice on Monday, April 18, the coach told the entire team that he was pleased to announce that after coming to all their games and participating in all the practices that B was officially going to be put on the roster, be able to suit up in a uniform, and play in the games!
We were all ecstatic (especially B). The next step was filling out the paperwork for the Soccer League, submitting it and praying that they processed it within 4 days (something that usually takes 10-14 days) because the team had a game on Friday night.
With some begging and pleading from the coach (THANK YOU COACH!), the pass was printed and ready to be picked up 30 miles away on game day. I drove up there to pay for it and pick it up. (I would have driven to the other side of the earth if it meant him playing in the next game!)
So tonight we will watch him play with the team that he has stood by since August 10, 2015. Against and with boys that are at least a year older than him! He has learned this week that his dedication and commitment over 8 months (36 weeks), and attending 43 practices and 23 games has FINALLY paid off! I’m not sure how he did it. His patience and dedication was much more than I could ever do. We are so, so proud of him! I will probably have tears in my eyes tonight as he plays and boy, will that make it a beautiful day!
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