Thursday, November 17, 2011

Destined to play a little footie

It really was inevitable.

With a husband who was willing to stay up with the baby at 3 am to watch World Cup Soccer and who can understand Jane Austin movies without subtitles because he watches so much English Premier League 'footie', {and i guess you could factor in that he played on a soccer team clear through the early years of our marriage},  our boys were destined to play soccer.

Owen first tried his hand at it when he was four...which was very entertaining to watch.
And then...
A looooong break.
I have to say that I really struggled with wanting to hand over my family time to sports.  I, for one, would have considered myself an athlete in high school and to this day love sports and see great benefits from participating in them.  {I even met my future in-laws for the first time at a BYU Football game with my face painted blue and white.  Great first impression by the way!}  I was just scared to what it would do to our family time.  I knew it was inevitable, I just wanted to hold out for as long as I could...enjoying watching my boys with their backyard football games, cardboard clubhouses, bike rides, and living room forts that so often accompanied our late afternoons.

Owen did flag football a couple of years back and it was intense.  He really enjoyed it and was an incredible exercise in patience for everyone involved.  We did not continue on with football for my reasoning listed above...time.  Football for 9 year olds involves Tuesday through Friday practice with a game on Saturday.  No thank you!  I realize that a lot of people commit to that, but for a family of four little kids, it just would have been too much.

This year both Owen and Eyan wanted to play soccer.  They really wanted to play.  After discussing it with Mike, he completely left it up to me, knowing I would be the one taking 4 kids back and forth practice after practice, game after game. Not to mention the gear...water bottles, chair, cooler, umbrella, blanket, coloring book, crayons, and endless amounts of snacks.

One of the aspects of MS that I continually forget is the temperature sensitivity.  I always forget that temperature is a factor in the sort of activities that Mike can be around for or participate in.  His body can only function properly if it is within certain ideal temperatures, think San Diego weather, no extreme or even moderately hot or cold temperatures.  The heat factored in with long walking times to and from the field, make for a bad combination of elements for him.  This has been difficult.  Not to be able to see his sons play the game that he loves to his core.  I was grateful for the 1 game and the 1 practice that he was able to attend.

A short time after Mike was diagnosed with MS...{Mike stop reading}... he tried to give away his cleats, shin guards, and soccer socks.  It absolutely broke my heart to see them tossed in a box beside other 'unwanted' or 'unneeded' items.  I knew it had been difficult for him to realize that he could not play anymore, that as much as his mind told his legs to run, his nerves would not correctly communicate that series of motions to his muscles.  It pained me to see him try...and often fall.  Those legs that I once watched out-sprint any opponent, now faltered, stammered, gave way.  Despite these realizations, I could not let him give away his prized, worn soccer things.  I still have them hidden in my closet.

{ok Mike you can read again}

Over the season as I found myself locked into practices with the kids, being at parks instead of at home with chores, a computer, and other various distractions, I recognized that I was truly enjoying the time that I had just to be with my other children distraction free.  Time seemed to slow down for a bit instead of speed up as I thought it would.  Yes, there were plenty of crazy moments, moments of sheer shrieking and racing out the door.  And yes, our usual unstructured family time was consumed.  Any yes, I look forward to its return.  Yet, I am grateful for the snuggly of my boys on my lap under a blanket, listening to the giggles of a baby sister being pulled around on a blanket by her brothers, watching little feet scampering to kick a ball to their brother, as well as the confidence booster it has been for my older two boys from caring coaches in addition to an opportunity for them to share in the love for a game that their father prizes so much.

I have enjoyed seeing Mike get outside a little more lately to kick a little footie around with the boys.  Despite his struggles, he hasn't let that get in the way of putting a few goals past them.

{to read more about our journey with MS click here or click on the label in the right hand column}


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