Adventures In Fatherhood

As was the case last winter, Saturday mornings are now devoted to soccer at Crown Sports Center in Fruitland.

During last weekend’s session, the first of the season for the Cottontails, Beckett was a terror, pure and simple, adding a handful of grays to my rapidly fading head of hair in less than an hour.

The only good thing about it was I got my workout in for the day, as at least one parent is required to be with their kid during every session.

Consequently, that meant a lot of sets and repetitions involving picking up and relocating a 35-pound boy over and over again against his will.

A lot of this was a result of Beckett’s favorite game of chase and running back and forth between the various fields, ignoring the calls of the coach as well as his father. It gave new meaning to keeping my head on a swivel in an attempt to track him down in a little crowd of kids running around haphazardly.

There were lots of parents running around with arched backs, saying all sorts of things like “oh geez, I’m sorry,” “stop, no don’t take his ball,” “oh come on, put that down” or “come on buddy, don’t sit on his head” (that came from me, unfortunately).

Running loose on the soccer field seems to be a favorite activity for Beckett. He sprints all around (often with his head pointed upwards and arms flailing out) kicking a ball or two every now and again (sometimes by accident) and taking part in all the other fun activities the coach works into the weekly sessions.

Last Saturday, his excitement was evident as soon as we walked in the door, as seemingly memories from last winter rushed back immediately.

These little so-called “practices” are valuable in a number of ways, most notably it gets him socially acclimated to playing with a number of kids as well as the whole soccer aspect.

I’m not too proud to realize Beckett can be a challenging boy at times, mainly due to the fact listening is a major shortcoming and an aspect his mom and I work on repeatedly.

This inability to follow instructions was on full display for all to see during soccer last Saturday. He was a menace, running from field to field with reckless abandon no matter how big the kids were and what was happening. When he likes this, he’s dangerous to himself and particularly other kids.

At one point, after her son was intentionally chest bumped by my bully son, a mother jokingly said, “wow, he’s rough, huh?”

While she laughed a little, surely she could not have taken too kindly to my son running up to her boy, pushing out his chest and intentionally bumping into her son. Since the kid surely did not expect that, he fell backwards and cried. As I made sure the little guy was alright, Beckett ran off with his soccer ball.

This was not exactly my proudest moment as a dad, but I had no time to think about that until later because Beckett had already found another victim nearby. This one he merely tapped on the head like he would one of his dogs. I was relieved about that.

Later, his rough demeanor surfaced when the group was playing with a bunch of cones. The idea here seems to be to stack some cones as high as possible and knock them down eventually.

Beckett wants no part of the stacking but loves making them crash down around him. That’s why he sort of hovers around the group, waiting for the towers to get big enough to be knocked over.

His favorite maneuver seems to be a move he perfected on his trampoline. The problem is it’s dangerous when executed elsewhere. It features him jumping up in the air and falling to his bottom while kicking out his feet.

Unfortunately, during cone stacking time was when he decided to show off this move to his new friends, resulting in many raised eyebrows from parents and fear in his fellow players.

It’s at these moments when I notice just how rambunctious my son can be. He will be 3 years old in May, and he’s got an unbelievable motor. He just goes and goes at a high level all the time.

There were a couple moments when I was retrieving him from another nearby soccer field that I couldn’t help but compare him to others. This is sketchy territory I realize, but I marveled over the kids that actually sat in one place for more than a minute or two and actually listened to what the coach was saying.

One example illustrates the point. One particular aspect of the session is called “red light, green light”, where the kids line up on a wall and follow the coach’s instructions.

When the coach says green light, the kids are to run full speed. When coach says red light, they are to stop. When coach says yellow light, they are to go slow (yeah, right). When coach says orange light, they are to roll on the ground.

This is an interesting situation to observe and fortunately Beckett is not alone with the whole not following instructions part. The kids are basically just running around the entire place and every once in a while they may actually hear what the coach is saying and follow suit.

There was one point when the coach said green light and Beckett dropped to the floor and did the log roll from one end to the other. The problem was he was not doing it in a straight line and instead was diagonally rolling all over the place, taking out accidentally (I think) a couple kids in the meantime.

When I picked him up, he merely laughed and sprinted in another direction.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.