Jake was enrolled in soccer lessons at a nearby indoor soccer arena & ice rink for the past eight weeks or so, with a week or two off for holidays. It was a small class of kids four years old or under so each lesson was forty-five minutes long, enough time for them to practice little drills and play a "game" for the last ten to fifteen minutes. When we arrived for the first lesson--with shinguards on, soccer ball and water bottle in hand!--Jake was a little nervous but Deric, Reid and I were all there to cheer him on. He was still pretty apprehensive during the lesson but one of the coaches stayed with him and encouraged him to try the drills. It was good grounds for talking with Jake about how to handle being anxious. Before the second lesson, Jake told us he didn't want to go so we prayed with him and talked about how God will help him to enjoy soccer and to have fun, and later on he told us that praying made him feel better. For me that was such an incredible reminder that God, who is bigger than I can imagine, cares about all the details of our lives, like a little boy's worries over a soccer lesson. And with each lesson, Jake got a little more confident and willing to try the activities. He also made a little friend (and his mom and I sat and watched together!), so the boys would run off the field together to find us for water breaks.
It was heart-wrenchingly cute to watch Jake play soccer! He looked so grown up but at the same time so little, too little to even be playing an "organized" sport. And it was such a reflection of his personality: during the soccer games, he rarely touched the ball but he was completely happy to run back and forth with the other kids, grinning ear to ear and cheering when either team scored! I'm pretty sure he was struggling with the concept of stealing the ball, since in every other situation he's obviously discouraged from taking toys from other kids. ;) It was so cute to see him having such a good time while so oblivious to the point of the game. The group of parents watching could not stop laughing over the kids' antics during their little scrimmages-- laying on the ground, picking up cones, joining the wrong team's huddle. So cute! Three year olds playing sports are where its at.
I took video every so often when Deric couldn't make it and merged them all together into one little video. Its hard to see Jake in each clip but most of the time you can identify him by his socks, black with lime green stripes. He's usually bee-bopping around the perimeter of the group. ;)
(The little conversation with his friend was hilarious! They both realized they had basketballs on their shirts underneath the soccer shirts. Notice how they're totally unaware of the game?! Haha!)
We're all so proud of Jake for sticking it out and trying something new!