I apologize in advance for having no photos for this post. I was busy participating and opted not to take pictures.
Let me tell you something about C. He. Loves. Sports. LOVES them. Has since he first laid eye on a ball. We didn’t tell him that football is the coolest thing ever (though we would have eventually and we are teaching him to chant O-H-I-O). He just figured out all on his own that if there’s a ball, it’s something he wants to try. And he’s weirdly good at sports given how uncoordinated his parents are. I’ve seen him stand several feet back from his toy basketball hoop and make 6 shots in a row. That’s 6 more shots that I’ve made in my whole life. We got him a t-ball set and within 15 minutes he was swinging for the bleachers like a pro. He’ll grab a football like he’s taking a snap, run, then fall like he’s being tackled. It’s wild. He just LOVES sports.
Knowing that he would flip for an opportunity to run around a gymnasium with other kids and balls, we signed him up for the Wee Wanna Be sports class through Montgomery County recreation. It’s eight Saturdays of meeting at a nearby elementary school for 45 minutes of work-at-your-own-level sports instruction for 2-5 year olds. The catalog boasted that this class was “ALL COACH DOUGH, ALL THE TIME!” I didn’t know who Coach Doug was but I figured if he merited all-caps, he must be good.
We arrived at class Saturday and met Coach Doug as we were walking in. He’s a 50-ish guy who showed up in referee’s clothes with a whistle and three large bags of small soccer balls. We walked into the gym and about 2 dozen small kids were running around with their parents waiting for class to begin. We tried to encourage C. to run a bit but he saw the bags of balls and would not leave them. He wanted a soccer ball real bad and didn’t understand why he couldn’t have one. Fortunately, Coach Doug got things started before a real soccer ball crisis arose. C. tolerated the stretching we began with and got into running a lap of the gym. When we gathered around Coach Doug to learn a simple soccer technique, he was so excited to FINALLY get a ball that he couldn’t sit down and just watch the lesson. He was up and moving slowly toward Coach Doug with his eyes trained on the ball like it exuded a tractor beam drawing him to it. Coach Doug, who has obviously done this before, pulled him right over and let him “help” teach the rest of the kids about trapping a ball. C. was delighted and when he finished, he ran happily back to us, ball in his arms, despite admonishments that we don’t use hands in soccer.
Coach Doug is really a gem, totally worth the all-caps write up in the course catalog. He’s clearly done this for a long time and knows how to wrangle a class of multi-aged kids with different attention spans and ability levels. He balances about three minutes of instruction on really elementary skills (dribbling, in-bounding, big kicks, passing) with 7 or 8 minutes of letting the kids and their parents “practice” the skills and he has no issues with the fact that about half the kids are just running around with balls. He told us we’ll do two weeks per sport and the sports will be those that are in season on tv and with older siblings who might be playing on teams.
The ultimate measure of a weekend activity is, of course, The Nap. I’m pleased to report that this class burned enough energy that C. was subdued when we went to brunch afterward (class ended at 10:15) and nearly comatose in the car after that. Nap was a solid three hours and he woke up happy and chatting about soccer. The Great Guy I Married would measure the success of the class by the homework assignment Coach Doug gave us: we are to watch sports with C. this week. Fox Soccer Channel, here we come!
Anyway, this class was fun for the whole family, though we can probably take turns accompanying C. in the future. And I may sign C. up for the summer session of the same class right away because I think Coach Doug is about to become his favorite person.