Ok, well not really. But in terms of getting your kid to actually PLAY soccer, now that he’s signed up for soccer, bought the uniform, got the T-shirt, well, yesterday was a V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

You remember two weeks ago.


Well, all I’ve got to say is, never underestimate the power of bribery when it comes to effective parenting.

Saturday’s game was scheduled for 9:30 am and though I don’t live in an enormous city, it does take a good 20 minutes of driving to get from Home, point A, to kiddle soccer field, point B. And since Saturday is Major Sleep-in Day around our house, Little Mr. Sunshine had to be awakened. He immediately wondered what was the hubbub, bub?

“You’ve got a soccer game today!”

This, performed in an excited, hopeful and slightly hysterical chorus by both parents. It was greeted with just the enthusiasm you’d expect: explosive denial.

“I HATE soccer. I don’t WANT to play soccer. I AM NOT GOING TO PLAY SOCCER.”

Well. I’ve never seen a challenge I couldn’t meet. Overcome? Well, maybe not, but I’ll meet that sucker. So to work I went, stuffing reluctant boy into uniform amid unceasing complaints, packing up the snacks for the team (for indeed, this was our week to provide them). Loading Grumpy McGrumperpants into the car and finally, me and the mister making the trek to the frozen tundra, AKA, the kiddle soccer field.

Earlier that morning when I’d stepped outside to check the temperature, it was sunny and promised to be a warm, sunny and gorgeous day. Conditions were somewhat same upon arrival at our destination, except for the gale-force winds (OK, OK, a strong breeze) and SHADE. So, it was pretty polar.

If you’ve never been to a soccer “game” for this age group, it’s really a lot of fun. The actual game is somewhat secondary to the looking around, aimless joyous jumping and rushing pell-mell down the field and scoring a goal in the opponent’s team’s net. They’re mighty precious and everyone has a good time. The three guys who serve as coaches are all Daddies, and it’s evident: they’re in it to give the little ones a taste of the game. Nobody cares what the score is.

So everyone was encouraging, no one was pressuring, but Trassie was most definitely parked in his little fold-up chair, when the game began, cocooned in a blanket and determined to sit this one out. For our part, we sat, too: gritting our teeth, torn between the desire to bodily toss him into the game and the forbearance that tells you that even if you did, he’d come flying back in your face faster than a boomerang. Then, inspiration struck Tras. Neither of us can believe it took us this long to use The Parent’s Secret Weapon.

“If you go out there and play, I’ll buy you a toy,”

Truly, before the word “toy” was fully out of Tras’s mouth, young Trassie leaped; nay, did a completely convincing imitation of being launched into the air, throwing the now-bothersome blanket from his body with a giant sweep of his arm and in a voice audible to every one of his coaches saying, “I’m ready to play!”

He hit the field. (See those bundled-up people back there? I TOLD you it was polar.)

He saw action.

He completed the required amount of standing around and not looking toward the ball.

Would you please LOOK AT THAT SMILE?

And finally, he did what he was born to do, which is run, run, run down the field like the demons of hell were following him, but in all actuality, he hadn’t even put it into fourth gear yet.

And then, the most wonderful words an aspiring soccer mom could hear: “Mom, I LOVE this game! YOU WERE RIGHT!”

Ah, sweet victory.

Of course we knew he would enjoy it. He loves to run, he loves to kick balls, which all adds up to a future of loving to run up and down a field, kicking a ball.We made good on our promise; a trip to Toys R Us was accomplished and a trophy selected: a darling stuffed Pikachu, who makes cute noises when you squeeze his (her?) ear.

So it’s all settled then; we love soccer around here and it’s smooth sailing from this point forward. No more worries; it’s all fixed.

That is, until T-ball starts in the spring,I guess.

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