My, what a difference a few weeks makes. After six sessions of Smart Start Soccer, Ava is done for the season. Six sessions doesn't seem like that many, but I am so impressed by how much Ava improved in four short weeks. She became more aggressive, a stronger kicker and better at dribbling. I'm actually sad the season is over, as is she. It was so fun to watch her out there running around, ponytail bobbing behind her.
For the last session, the coaches played several skill-building games with the kids. Ava's favorite was "Soccer Monster." In this game, one child stands in the middle of the field while the rest are at one end. The goal is for the children to dribble past the "soccer monster" to the other side of the field without their ball being kicked away. If the soccer monster manages to get their ball, then they too become a soccer monster. The first time around, Ava and a little toe-headed kid with a thunderbolt for a leg (I can't believe a four-year-old kicks that well... I wanna know what his parents are putting in his Trix) were the last two standing. The second time around, well, this happened when the soccer monster approached:
Finally, Ava and a few other kids teamed up to be soccer monsters. Notice whose ball Ava kicks away.
I don't know if I should be proud of her for recognizing an opportunity and seizing it (afterall, there's no crying in soccer) or if I should be a little worried that she took a ball away from a crying kid with no remorse.
In the end, all was well. The kid stopped crying and Ava told him she liked his soccer ball. They're even, right? As practice came to an end, the coaches presented each child with a certificate and medal. Ava waited patiently for her name to be called (and by patiently I mean repeatedly asking me, "when will they say my name?") and when it finally was, she jumped up, head held high, a giddy smile slapped across her face and a little hop in her step. She ceremoniously bowed her head as her coach placed her medal around her neck, then bounded over to me and excitedly said, "Look at my medal! Is this thing made out of metal or plastic?" It made me wonder what she'll be like when some lucky guy proposes to her (way, way, way down the road), "Is this thing a diamond or cubic zirconia?"
After all the awards were handed out and pictures taken, the team huddled up for one last cheer, "GOOOOOO SOUNDERS!" after which one of her coaches said, "See you next year." "Mommy," she said, "he said he'll see me next year." I replied that we would be in Mississippi next year so she would be on a different team. "Oh, coach," she said to the man whose name I don't even know, "I won't be here next year. But hey, maybe my team could come to Mississippi with me." That's my girl, thinking of ways to keep her team together. I think she'll make a good team captain some day.