Have you read those articles where they tell you not to put too much pressure on your kids because you don't want to scare them away from the sport they love? I think the one I remember best is the Ride Home one from Changing the Game. I read it a few years ago, and it always stuck with me. I mean, I feel a little conflicted. I think talking about strategy and visualizing success and evaluating what went well - and what didn't - could be important, too. If you know what you're talking about. But I don't.
So, instead, each game I try to find something specific that Casey did well, and I point that out. Like this past weekend, he scored the only goal in game #2 at a tournament- which helped his team make it out of bracket play and into the finals. I don't think he's scored a goal in quite some time (you'd think this is the type of thing I might track because I actually handle the game cards and report the results to the league, but I really don't pay too much attention to it). And it was exciting. It was, of course, a team effort. There was a pass. And a little of a ping-pongyness to the play. And then I watched him chip the ball up over the keeper's shoulder and - boop - into the goal it rolled. But what I remember from the game came later -- when he chased down a player from the goal box of the opponent and caught him before he got to the goal box on the other end of the field. I watched him fly out of nowhere. I know he can be fast - but where did that speed come from in the heat of the day? I love watching it. So graceful.
He had his not-super-great moments, too. He missed a play or didn't cover a man or whatever. I bet he knows exactly what those moments are, though. So I try to just remind him of what he did well, too --
Is it making a difference? Probably not. Maybe so. I don't know. But I know he likes having me there. And I like being there. And that's good enough for now.
They won the tournament, by the way. In a nail-biter of a final game. When the boys scored, we jumped out of our seats to cheer for them. Casey took notice -- "Everyone was yelling - but because they were happy!"
Casey is second from the left, front row.
After the game, the tournament had the team captains from each team present the awards. The finalists went first, and they were super gracious. Then our boys went and were equally gracious. They celebrated their team success - and even called out their keeper for managing a shut-out. Quite a weekend. . .