The Soccer Tots Disaster

After E’s second birthday, we settled into a bit of routine.  I tried my best to have play-dates despite E’s resistance.  I also looked into group activities.  From the time E was 9 months old, we were actively involved in KinderMusik.  I wanted to see if there was an equivalent for sports.  I thought I found it, Soccer Tots.

Soccer Tots is an introduction to soccer held at a local indoor arena.  I thought it sounded very cool.  I loved soccer as a kid.  That might be putting it lightly.  I lived for every minute I got to play.  I wanted to share this joy with E.  In the back of my head, I did wonder if age 2 was too young for this, but I trusted that the program was equipped for kids’ E’s age.

I first only agreed to a trial class.   E was a mess.  It was way too much fun to just run around the indoor field as fast as his little legs could carry.  He tuned out the world, and joyfully ran as if he was the only one there.  Of course he wasn’t alone, and I was frustrated.

I so wanted this to work.  I ignored the fact that my child wasn’t participating.  I totally bought the lines of the coach that my child would get it.  All the signs to get out before I got in too deep were there.  However, my own pride and love and soccer overruled my common sense.

I signed E up for a session.  It was soon after that I noticed he was limping.  It was noticeable for the speech therapist, and our babysitter noticed, too.  I was a little worried, but suspected that he had ran too hard at “practice”.   I took him to the doctor.

E likes to go to the doctor.  We take our little play doctor kit, and he generally thinks its fun. This is the advantage of being old enough not to need a shot every time we go.  At this point in his life, he hadn’t even needed a prescription for anything.  Doctor’s gave tickles, hugs, and stickers at the end.

The doctor had him walk around and agreed with me that it was probably just over-use. The doctor also noticed E’s propping himself while sitting on one hand.  E also used his hands to help him stand.  This worried the doctor and I got a referral to a Neurologist.

I should have asked more questions, but I sometimes become idle brained in a doctor’s office.  Why a neurologist?  Is propping that bad?  Is it only the propping that concerns you?  All valid questions, but all unasked.

The limp went away.  It was sore muscles as suspected.

Soccer Tots was not for my child!  It wasn’t run very well.  There were too many kids and not enough coaches.  The coach seemed bad at talking to such young kids.  He used complicated 4 step directions where 2 is a challenge for some.   In spite of my own observations, I was still worried that my child was lagging way behind.

Sheila too the rescue!  Our developmental therapist came to a session.  She observed and gave me some tips to help.  However, the best thing she did was reassure me that this class was advanced for someone who just turned 2.    She did all this on her own time. I was so lucky to have her.

I was going to tough it out with the program until the day Soccer Tots were moved to another field. The other field was to be shared.  On the other side of a curtain was a group of 7-8 year old kids.  A curtain is a sorry excuse for a barrier.  In fact, to my 2 year old, it was fascinating.  E immediately ran to the other field where the older kids were running drills.  The coach didn’t see.  He was busy with the class.  I quickly ran and got E right before a ball got too close.   I was livid.  My son could have been injured.  This was reckless. These were TOTS! They can’t trap a ball that is about to hit them.  They might not even be aware enough to move out of the way.

I complained and got my money back.  I hated to do it.  There were so many of my neighbors enrolled with their kids, and I longed to spend time with them at practice.  My social progress would just have to take the hit.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, the neurologist remained as a specter.

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