This morning Fletcher had his first soccer game! The field was a soggy mess after all the rain we had yesterday, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. The game started out great and Fletcher looked like he was having a ball. But, as I feared, the team he was playing against was . . . a bit more serious about the game than the “Super Blues” have been. They pretty much rolled right over them. This would not have been a big deal at all (and I don’t think it was for the rest of the team) but Fletcher was really upset by it. After the first 2 quarters he said he didn’t want to play any more. I thought at first that he was just tired, but when I asked him about it he started to cry and told me that he wasn’t any good at soccer because he couldn’t score a goal. I thought my heart was going to break in two. I shouldn’t be surprised that he is competitive and a perfectionist. He comes by it naturally.
But he gave up. If he couldn’t win he didn’t want to play.
I’m not sure I handled it well. I was alternately encouraging and ticked off at him. It was very frustrating! Fletcher was not alone in his decision to stop playing – the other team’s coach kept saying “Do you know you only have 1 player on the field?” and other equally snotty comments. As if we hadn’t realized that most of the team was in tears or running onto other playing fields!
When we got home, I showed Fletcher the video of the game so he could see how much fun he was having BEFORE he got frustrated. He watched for a while, then hit the stop button (how does he even know which one is the stop button?) and said “OK. Let’s talk about this.” (I managed not to laugh at how serious he was.) “Mommy, I didn’t score a goal.” “Fletcher, how did that make you feel?” “Really bad.” “Do you want to try to score a goal next time?” “Yes.” “Then you have to PLAY.” “Ok Mommy!” He finished watching the video and then ran off to play, happy as a clam. I hope he will give it more of a try next time. We have another game on Thursday evening, so we’ll see how that one goes.