Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Herding Ca--Kids

As part of our soccer family experience, my husband managed to secure a sponsorship with the San Antonio Scorpions, a professional soccer team.  This past weekend was a home game, and many of the kids in the soccer league were invited to come perform various activities during the game.  Some kids got to unfurl a huge American flag and wrangle with it in the middle of the field while the pros were coming out.  Other kids got to be the ones who chase after the ball if it goes out of bounds.  My husband was very adamant that our son get to participate in the festivities, but there aren't a lot of options for four year olds.  Except...escorting the visiting team out to the field. Brilliant! So Larry signed 10 three and four year old kids up to be escorts.  

We got Zane and headed to the field for the game; we all had to be there an hour early.  We gathered all the little ones and herded them down onto the field to wait.  For. An. Hour.   Little kids don't wait very well.  Some of them are able to sit still for short periods of time, but that is a rarity in nature. 

So they sat...then they got up...then there was breakdancing...then there was more sitting...then there was a little handflapping...more skinned knee...some bathroom visits..more sitting...

In the middle of all this mayhem, Larry kept wandering off, because he was as 'in charge' of this event as anybody else.  Luckily, one of the other parents snuck down there with us, and she was ridiculously prepared with stuff like wipes.  Otherwise, I would have lost my mind trying to keep track of all of these kids.  There were only ten, but it seemed like 30.  Heck, my own child was the perfect example of how not to behave in a large crowd.  (Take one of those Super Balls into a room and throw it against the wall; the resulting ricochet resembled Zane.)  He was feeding off of the energy of the crowd, and I was regretting that nap I made him take. 

Finally, it was time.  The visiting team were Canadians, and I made sure that they all knew that the kids were three and four year olds.  All of the little ones were looking up and up and up at these BIG versions of themselves.  Well, almost all.  Zane wasn't the least impressed; he was excited and happy and he did not care who knew it.   The players each took the hand of a child and led them out onto the field.  All the other kids were sedately walking; Zane was bouncing, skipping, and practically dragging his professional soccer player along.  That poor, poor man!   The players stopped in the middle of the field for the introductions.  Zane is still bouncing and from the sidelines I can see that he is chattering away.  He is not facing the audience, he is facing HIS audience of four professional soccer players, who are all smiling at my son while he is hopping and jumping about. 

Did I mention that I regretted the nap? 

When the National Anthem started, in my mind I'm thinking, "CRAP!"  Because while we've practiced what you are supposed to do for the Pledge, we did not practice what you are supposed to do for the National Anthem.  The Canadian player, with the last name of Pinto, did his best to get Zane to stand quietly, to no avail.  The boy had to dance to his own music.  It didn't help that what Larry called one of the worse renditions of the National Anthem ever(I've heard much worse), seemed to go on and on because the singer thought it would be great to sing as slowly and as flatly as humanly possible.   It got no better when they played the Canadian anthem; Zane chose that moment to throw himself on the ground and pretend to be dead.  By this point, the boy next to him was joining in and flopping on the ground too. 

The players seemed to be laughing about it, which was good.  I was horrified.  My child was being disrespectful! I would have to move to a new town and change my name.  My parents would disown me and cut off Zane's college fund.  We would not be able to show our faces here for at least a decade.  Every worst case scenario was speeding through my head.  CPS would be waiting at the gate to take Zane, since we had neglected him so...the monologue went on. 

And then that wonderful, blessed switch went off in my head.  The switch that seems to shut off all the internal naggery that my brain subjects me to.  I took a deep breath, and let it out, there on the sidelines of a professional soccer game. I relaxed.  Zane is a kid, he's happy, he's excited, and most people like that.   There wasn't a thing that I could have done that would have changed Zane's behavior; he was in the zone.  His happy place.  If he's happy, then I'm happy.  

Some people probably got upset about his behavior during the Anthem, but it was looked upon more kindly because he is four.  Little kids are not expected to follow the rules as well as the older kids.  Little kids still get to be kids.  The important thing is that Zane had a great time, everybody had a great time, and I did not have a major coronary.  I might even do this again, if beer is served. 

*And if you want to see my child, you will have to go to the San Antonio Scorpions website and download the game video. My son comes along around the 20 minute mark.*


  1. Hysterical story and so typically four. I can just picture him dragging the pro out there and the kicker... Laying down! Awesome! At least to me.

    1. I suppose that I should look at this as fodder for blackmail when he is a teenager.


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