Soccer Tots



I did it. It started so well. The class was in a beautiful park in El Segundo (we want to move there). There was shade and a gazebo and everything. Ben, the owner, was wonderful. Ian ran on the grass with abandon and was in heaven with twenty-plus white Soccer Tot soccer balls.

Then the other kids showed up.

No, it was still fine-ish, unless you count Ian’s relentless ball stealing as an issue. The real turning point was when the class started. “Ok everyone, let’s get in a circle!” Um, does getting in the circle involve kicking the ball into the goal? If so, terrific! If not, I will be spending the next forty minutes running after my son, picking up his dead, screaming weight while trying to calmly explain to him that we are doing something ELSE right now, getting him to do said something else for approximately three seconds, then watching him run to the nearest ball belonging to another toddler and kicking it far, far away.

That’s how class went.

At one point I said aloud, not just in my head, “Does anyone else feel tortured by this?” No one answered.

I did notice that almost all the tots had TWO parents with them (in one case there were two parents and a nanny). This toddler class shit is no joke. I was sweaty and dirty and convinced my child would never be able to stand in line or follow directions for the rest of his life. And I’m supposed to pay for this.

Yes, I know I am bringing my own baggage to this party. I wasn’t really fond of being a kid when I was a kid. I was scared of recess and gym class my entire life. The team picking, the flying balls, the physical exertion, the competition, the self-judgement. It all makes me want to eat lunch in the classroom with my teacher, helping grade papers.

On the one hand, I think I should continue to go. Believe the coach when he tells me that the first time is the most chaotic, and that they learn and remember the structure and don’t fight it so much. That this is his first experience with structure and following directions and that ultimately this will be very valuable for him (he did remember one exercise with the ball that he does at home of his own volition). And most importantly, not let my unresolved issues affect my kid.

The other hand I say eff that noise. He’s 18 months and not ready yet and damn if I’m gonna chase him around a hot park all summer by myself (husband can’t join us because he’s with his other son).

Verdict? We’re going to take dance class with Bodhi on Saturdays for the summer and then see if dad and I or just dad can take Ian to soccer in the fall. He’ll still be in a class that has some structure and direction (which I will continue to be challenged by), but I’ll be with a mama I know so I can feel not so alone (I’ve noticed at both My Gym and this soccer class that the parents don’t communicate at all unless they knew each other previously-again-brings up that picked last on the team trauma).

Here’s Ian on the field and back at home. The theme is Goal.







3 comments on “Soccer Tots

  1. Hey Mandy!
    My 2 cents: No 18 month old needs any more structure than they get in their life from a loving structured household. Soccer class at 18 months? Who needs that pressure? Find something that you both feel comfortable with – if it’s dance class on Saturdays great. If that doesn’t workout, great too. You and Ian have way too much of his life ahead of you to put any additional stress in it right now. If he loves soccer and scoring goals at 18 months old he will at 18 years too regardless or maybe in spite of organized soccer class when he has only lived 540 days on this planent. I promise. I have an 18 year old to prove it.
    Hope you are well.
    XO, Christy

    • Thank you SO much, Christy! This reminded me of something you told me when Alisha was little and I’ve been repeating this as one of my “When I’m a parent this is how I want to handle things” mantras (and I apologize in advance for any details I have not remembered correctly). So Alisha was signed up for soccer and she decided she no longer wanted to play (I think she was four maybe?). You told her that while she did not have to play, she did have to put on her uniform and attend every game to support her team because she had made a commitment. I think she ended up playing…anyways, I cannot tell you how helpful that story has been for me, both for Ian and myself! xoxo

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