Camden, by far the youngest Pirate camper, definitely had the most heart at his first soccer session. He has watched many of his brother’s practices and games and was anxiously awaiting his first step on the pitch. His eyes lit up everytime we talked about it last week. He’d often randomly think of things to tell his coaches. “Mama you tell my Pirate coach that I’m REALLY super fast.” He was prepped that none of his coaches would be wearing earrings, eyepatches, parrots and shouting “aargh” and he was ok with it, just ready to get his soccer on. He usually doesn’t complain about our frequent long drives, but the anticipation was killing him. “It’s taking a really long time to get to my soccer practice,” he whimpered very disheartened. It did take a good hour and fifty minutes to get there (yes we are that
And then we arrived. He held his daddies hand, a contagious smile, and his mamas heart as he scampered out to his group. A few minutes late he jumped right into the 1st activity. Though signed up for ‘lil treasures ages 3-5, my 37 month old boy’s group consists of a 7 yr old boy, and two girls that have got to be 5 or 6 and are fierce. Seriously, I hope Kyle is like either one. M (Megan? Emma? Maybe I was too Mesmerized too reMeMber?) is tall and slide tackles at any given opportunity–a brute after my own heart. Ava is tiny but scored more goals in the upper 90 than Jono has–and probably with about as much power. Clearly these 3 have a soccer resume a mile long, but Cam held his own and didn’t skip a beat. He kept his ball in that damn grid, or maybe out of it, but either way the ball was safe with Camo! He ran around like a crazy monkey in the middle. And whenever he got the ball on the outside of the circle he gave another monkey a moment of victory–he’s so sweet. When aiming to hit coach for points he was remarkably accurate, though sometimes he was throwing it instead of kicking it. He did get increasingly thirsty throughout the three hours, but dribbled his ball over with speed for a sip and right back out.
I’ll admit I tried not to watch all of it. I was nervous it wouldn’t go so well. I caught up on blogs and just peeked here and there over my phone. I rambled on and on about our entire life plans, until I realized Kyle was listening better than Jono. He finally was honest with me that he couldn’t do anything but take in every second and was shocked I wasn’t doing the same. Jono resisted the urge to go help him frequently and only walked out to him once or twice. These pirates were patient and had it under control. Honestly, it couldn’t have been better because there are so few kids that they can entertain a bit and correct handballs right away. They do give him space to be three and seem to foster a love for the game more than skill, which I appreciate.
Soon it was time to scrimmage. Boys against girls, each with a pirate goalie. Liam called and boy was Cam thrilled to share he was about to play guns with his new friends and all the Pirates. Guns! (The coach did say they would do lots of shooting.) Sounded good to Liam but he was very distressed he was missing it and wanted to make sure he wouldn’t miss it ALL at Daddy’s. I told him he had lots of soccer camps in his future, to which he responded “No Mommy he came to all my practices and games I just have to watch his.” Only that sweet Liam…
Scrimmaging was underway and as hard as Cam tried he could not score a goal. With a very talented teammate twice his age, Camo took all free kicks and throws in order to be involved. But he soon picked up on the reality of the situation. He began to announce “I’m too slow.” Yes, despite his anticipated speed superiority. All the coaches and his Daddy encouraged him. “No Cam you’re not too slow. Keep going, you’re fast!” But let’s face it. He was way too slow to be successful and he knew it. Luckily, he didn’t give up. He pouted a little and ran to tell us. Then he took a goal kick and scored on his own goal–keeper wasn’t even expecting it. Smart kid we have eh? I mean it was pretty much his only chance…I don’t blame him…but he did piss his teammate off. They scored again, and said kid celebrated by taking off his shirt and kissing his guns and all was forgiven. At one point Camo decided he wanted to help gunslinger block a free kick. The coaches are a bit wiser than this (I told you the girls are good) but when they tried to get him out of harms way he yelled NOOOOOO. So they turned him around and put his hands on his head . BUTTS UP! Luckily the girls missed.
Cam continued to chase and get in the mix. Near the end when his Pirate (coach) keeper would dive for a save, Cam would dive right on him and wrestle him for it. At some point he copied a coach doing a butterfly stretch and started rolling around crazily. When leaving I definitely heard a Pirate coach say “Bye butterfly” and encourage all doing cool down stretches to try out his signature move. (Sorry Dad, I know butterfly is not the manliest of nicknames, but he is still three.)
Camden stayed on that field playing soccer with a smile on his face from 6 ish until 9:03 P.M. and he only got caught in the net once. We were also particularly proud that his stranger danger was no where to be found. We were not so proud he used a few stiff arms and pushes to keep himself in the game, but overall we were pleased with how he coped, and thrilled to hear him wake up in the morning ready for more.
Rest assured Jono and I will support whatever endeavors our children choose, but for now we are both hanging on the edge of our seat as Camden tests the water with our personal passion. Here’s to another great 4 days of camp, to which this much detail will not be provided haha, but all are welcome to come watch or wait for pictures! Thanks Panama City Pirates.