I am officially a soccer dad.

Our Little Men joined a team in the Youngsville area this spring. I couldn’t wait to get off of work on that first night to go with them to the field and watch them in their first practice.

My parents did not encourage me, my sister or my brother to pursue sports or other extra-curricular activities. I’m not sure if it was the costs involved or the fact that standing on the sidelines was the last thing either wanted to do after a full day of work.

For me, it was simply a joy to see the twins run up and down the soccer field. You couldn’t find a happier father when each foot actually connected with the ball for the first time!

Come on, they’re 6.

Proud is the only word to describe the way I felt watching the Little Men run after the ball, get in the mix with the other kids and put their hearts into it. And, the best part of all … they laughed and enjoyed every second of it.

In the first game, the other team scored first. I clapped for the team and cheered on the little guy who made the goal. Several other parents looked at me like I was crazy.

Let me state this again: They’re 6.

Am I really the crazy one?

What are we teaching our kids if we can’t be happy for the other team and cheer them on? What kind of example are we making? What type of job are we doing as parents if we cannot show our children what it means to be a team player with good sportsmanship?

It’s not like any of these children will be starting for a major league soccer team next season. So, why can’t we show them how to have fun?

The funniest thing is, the kids were cheering each other on and laughing. It was the adults on the sidelines who made snide remarks, jeered or scowled.

I am happy to report that the first goal scored for our team was scored in the first game … by someone on the opposing team. And, our record stood firm — not a single game won.

My beautiful bride and I had a blast. Our Little Men made new friends and forged some wonderful memories. Even my 89-year-old grandmother attended a few games, sitting on the sidelines cheering on both teams and giggling — elated to see kids simply having fun.

What’s the real goal of soccer? Making memories and having fun doing it.

Ike20Soccer.jpgZakk20Soccer.jpg

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