In September 2008, Michael played his first organized soccer game. He took to the sport quickly and had so much fun that first season. He scored plenty of goals (it helped he was the biggest kid out there) and was a joy to coach.
Today, we might have witnessed Michael's last organized soccer game. He's been lukewarm to playing since the fall. Part of it was the team was disorganized then, and part of it was he just is preferring basketball. I didn't coach his team this year, instead scaling back and let others more qualified than me guide his development. For the spring season (in this rec league, you sign up and get fall and spring in a package deal), his team got a new coach and Michael's enthusiasm perked up a little. However, it was not enough to keep playing, and he asked not play come next fall.
It's been a good run. Michael became a good goalkeeper this season -- no easy task considering nobody on his current team plays defense. I think he likes playing midfielder better, but his fall coach wasn't giving him that chance and it frustrated him. The new coach saw his value as an attacker but still needed him in goal because he was the best keeper. But what disappointed Michael this spring was the chance to play more basketball on Saturdays than he did. He was still on one team but had teammates who played on two. I hate to have him specialize in one sport (and he's still doing swim team), but if a second sport is preventing him from playing the first sport that he loves more, we shouldn't force him to play the second sport. He's done with baseball as well, and he had a good run there, too. Maybe he will change his mind, but I won't be disappointed if he doesn't.
Still, I can be sad that the soccer era is coming to an end. I remember his first game. I was nervous as it was my first time coaching soccer. But it was just fun back then: 4-on-4, small fields, little goals -- and Michael could kick the ball far. I'll still be coaching Ben's team next year, and I do love watching Michael playing basketball so. Yet, after seven years of soccer, my melancholy is understandable.
Yes, Ben had a game today, too, and his team played really well against the best team in the league. Michael had a basketball game -- his team lost 31-28, but he played well, 4 points and 10 rebounds. We hustled over to the soccer game for the second half, and he made a great save in the first minute.
Today was also our first trip to the pool for the summer. The boys had fun. I made my annual jump of the diving board to remind myself I can swim in deep water -- that first one always makes me nervous. We came home and barbecued and ate outside, and I took the dog for a hike before it got dark. All in all, a great summer Saturday, even it did represent an ending.