Monday, March 04, 2013

Up Against The Wall

The last time H had indoor soccer practice there was some kind of incident in which another player made off with his soccer ball leaving H moping and unable to play for the rest of practice. 
I did not observe said incident as H had gotten a ride to practice with Tom, and Ken had gone in for the pick up. I had not in fact watched any of H's practices, being more of the "drop and run" type of mom than the "stay and watch" variety.
Last Sunday I had decided in advance that I would go to practice and stay and watch; my hope being that a) I would be there in the event anything went wrong, and b) H would play better if he knew I was watching him. Let's just say I hope he wasn't playing better on account of my presence because that would mean that it's possible for him to play worse. Let's also say that I need to find him a sport wherein he can spend copious amounts of time on the ground because that is where, from what I can see, he most enjoys being.
So I'm there and I'm by the doorway to the gymnasium and I'm talking to another mother and the conversation's going pretty well, at least in my mind, and I'm pleasantly surprised because I don't usually hit it off with other parents. But then they break the kids up into smaller groups and H gets sent way down to the other side of the gym and after a few minutes I reluctantly excuse myself and head over there so I can do what I came to do - which is watch H (and order seeds for this year's garden). I'm there on this long bench flipping through my seed catalogue and watching when I see this boy who's crying and the coach is trying to console him but he's still crying and his parents must not be in the building because he's walked over to the bench - my bench - and told to join the game when he feels better.
Now he's on the bench, and I'm on the bench, and I feel a bit like we're in an Arlo Guthrie song. And let's just say that as bad as I am at talking to other parents - I am 100 times worse at talking to crying seven-year-old boys who are not my own children.
I try convincing myself that he'd rather be left alone and go about my business, then I give him what I hope is a sufficiently sympathetic glance all the while thinking that every other parent in the gym must be wondering why I'm not trying to help this kid.
Finally I do the only thing I can think of. I slide over a little closer to him and say "I'm sorry you're sad." Then I say, "do you like vegetables?" 
He tells me he's more of a meat and fruit kind of guy (so is H). Then I show him the selection of carrots in the catalogue and say, "look here - I can get 150 carrots seeds for $1.65. That's about a penny a carrot."
He agrees that that is a very good deal.
We weigh the pros and cons of cooked carrots verses carrot sticks and lo and behold soon we are talking gardens and fences and rabbits and sunflowers and finally he says, "looks like they're going to scrimmage soon." And I say, "well, it's been fun talking with you but maybe you'd rather go and play." And he does!

song: Up Against The Wall • Fiction Family

1 comment:

Winnie said...

The very act of showing him the seed catalog was a kindness. I am sure he had enough time to regroup and join back with the gang. My nephew "played" soccer, but I went twice and both times I found him sitting on the ground digging holes. I kid you not. His brother loved it, but him, not so much. Seed catalogs are a fav of mine. I can't wait for this cold weather to quit already!