“Am I good at soccer?” was a recent question from my son. Driving to practice and watching games in the fall and spring has become a routine in our house. My oldest has become much more enthralled with soccer this past year and really has improved dramatically in his ball handling and defensive skills. His coach and team mates call him “The Wall”. This is a great compliment when you play defense. He is not afraid to go after the ball and will run right at his opponent to take the ball away from them. But that question of ‘am I good at this?’ remains.
I have heard my son say that soccer is in his blood. I know he is thinking that being from Central America where soccer is played, and the fact that the World Cup was on when we received him, gives him some innate ability. I love that he takes pride in his birth heritage and looks for examples that demonstrate he retains or receives something from that heritage. The question of being good at soccer is looking for some confirmation of that heritage.
We often go in the back yard to practice. I love that my son wants to do this with me so I make the time as often as I can. I didn’t play soccer growing up, but my first career was in ballet and modern dance, so I know what it takes to play in the big leagues. The idea of learning skills and practicing them can be ‘boring’ for 11 year olds. As long as my son is interested and wants to practice, I’m all for encouraging it!
On a wet and rainy Saturday morning game that was more puddles than dry ground, I was thinking “Yes, my son is good at soccer.” I enjoy watching him play and see him thinking about what is going on around him on the field. He may not be the fastest, or most accurate, but he sees the bigger picture, has heart and gives his all. That will take him far in life. Conveying that is important to solidify for my son that he really is good at something. That his practice and hard work pay off. His genetics may or may not play into it, but I’m happy to include it in confirming that this is part of what makes him good!