Our fifteen-year-old is playing Lacrosse for the first time this year, after a lifetime of no sports whatsoever and just picking up a stick for the very first time last spring. If you’re a newbie around here, bring yourself up to date by clicking here and then here.
I keep forgetting to post about what has happened since he made the JV team. A couple of days into practicing, his coach started sending him over to the Freshman/Sophomore team for some of their drills, and told him he would be, just like a couple of other JVers, playing for both teams because the F/S team was a little short-handed.
He was getting disturbed because he was spending more time than the other dual-team boys over at the F/S drills, and I told him that if it bothered him that much, he should talk to his coach about it. When he approached his coach about it, the coach was completely frank with him and told him that for a JV player, his skill was low. For a F/S player, his skill was just above average. He told the fifteen-year-old that he really needed to work on the skill drills to get his game up.
Naturally, the kid was a little down about this honest assessment by the coach. He felt like he was being demoted. We talked to him about it and told him that of course he could be upset about it for a few minutes, but he should try to get over it and look at it as an opportunity to play more ball. His coach was only trying to help him AND the teams out.
It took him a day or two, but he got over it and became excited about potentially being able to show some leadership on the F/S team; he said that some of the guys were very complimentary and seemed to look to him during the drills.
After we got back from our little trip to Key Lime Cove last week, he went to Wednesday’s practice. When he came home, we were surprised to find out that he had been sent over to the Varsity coach (not to play Varsity: don’t get excited!) to potentially be trained as a goalie. The JV goalie has a knee injury and is out until the end of April, and they don’t have a backup. The kid was sent over to the Varsity coach with another JV player.
Of course, my son, the one who gets his intense initial dislike of “change” from me, was very UNthrilled. He wanted to play Midfield. We reminded him that at the beginning of the season, the coaches made a point of saying that if they put boys in a position different from what they wanted, they needed to get over it because it was for the good of the team. We also pointed out the fact that this was a good opportunity to display some versatility, and he did note that he showed good attitude about it to the coach.
On Thursday, he came home from practice with the news that the other JV player who was sent to goalie training with him would not be goalie, and that he was it. We had to go out and purchase a throat guard and a goalie chest pad.
(That sound you’re hearing is my wallet shrinking)
On Friday, a pro from the Chicago Machine came to practice to train my son and the F/S and Varsity goalies. What a great experience! He had a blast. Also on Friday, one of the dads (who works for a sporting goods company) brought the kid a brand new goalie chest pad and told us to return the one we bought. Halleluyah!
On Friday, he was also told that the F/S goalie would be playing for the JV team in our first game, last night, since our kid just picked up the goalie stick on Wednesday/Thursday.
Yesterday, the F/S goalie didn’t go to school. I assume he was sick.
When you don’t go to school, you can’t play in a game that day.
That left only one option.
I couldn’t believe my ears when he told me the news. “First game” just took on a whole new meaning.
I quickly found out that it’s a good thing I have acrylic nails over my natural ones. I totally would have chewed down to my wrists otherwise.
I was even nervous for him BEFORE the game, as he stood there with that goalie stick, trying to stop his teammates from shooting past him. He looked so small to me. I cringed everytime he missed, and crossed my fingers and started saying little prayers as practice wrapped up and gametime approached.
I had forgotten, since my kids don’t play sports, how jerky some of the parents are. As the game started, I got to hear some of those “diehard” sport parents scream criticism at the players. I really hoped that nobody was going to scream anything at my kid, because I really would have had to open a can of whoopa$$ all over them.
The other team scored in the first five minutes of the game. My heart ripped open, because I know that my kid was really expecting that he would disappoint everybody there if he let even one ball go by him.
As the game went on, he made some really good saves. I was so excited, and I was thrilled to hear some of the other parents on our team (who don’t even know him) shout “Good job, D!” and “Great save, Goalie!” I heard some of them talking amongst themselves, but none of it was bad.
“…very inexperienced.” (true!)
“First time as a goalie? He’s doing fine!” (“First time as a goalie? FIRST GAME OF HIS FIRST SPORT, EVER!” I wanted to yell)
The support from the parents on the sideline was great.
Everytime the ball got near him, I felt like I couldn’t look. But I did.
In the second quarter, they scored again. But we did, too.
In the second half, we scored our second point. The final quarter was brutal. Part of the problem was that our defense wasn’t very cohesive and couldn’t keep the ball away from my little goalie’s end of the field.
Did I say it was brutal? The final score was 8-2. I was preparing myself for this kid to get in the car, silent, expressing out loud that maybe lacrosse wasn’t the sport for him. That’s what he and I normally do. We expect perfection the first time around, and when we don’t come through, it takes us a while to rebound.
But…wait a minute. I couldn’t believe what happened next. When the game was over, I heard some of our players yell, “Let’s go get our goalie!”
And the entire team ran to him and knocked him over.
They patted him on the back, gave him high fives, and hugged him. Now THAT’S a team.
But the displays of good sportsmanship didn’t end there. On our way to the car (and by the way, my boy was quite chatty: spectacular!), a player from the other team said to him, “That was your first game as goalie? Man, you did great.”
And he did. We are so proud.