Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Soccer: E's first day

E had her first day of what we call "soccer camp" last Saturday. I WAS NOT THERE. I was out of town.

The program is for 4-5 year olds, and put on by our local YMCA. Every time I enroll E in a class, I prepare the teachers/instructors well in advance for having someone like Elena. After all, most teachers have not experienced having a disabled child in their classroom. Hopefully, she and the other students will treat each other well and benefit from the exposure. This has been true for most of our experiences.

But, honestly...there are always moments of sadness. You see how different your child is from others. As E has gotten older and more able, we've had a better time dealing with this. The sad times are few, and normally the feelings are over quickly. E is doing so much more these days, it's hard not to be proud of her--even if she is the last one, or the one that needs a lot of help. I think other parents are proud of her too, even though they just met her!

Since I couldn't be at this session, Jason went. Our Helping Hand Cara was there too. I wasn't sure how much help E would need--turns out, she didn't need ANY--she didn't fall ONCE!! E tried all her "soccer moves" with her crutches. I am hoping by the end of "soccer camp" we might be able to do some of the drills without them--maybe. Coach M didn't spend a lot of time catering to Elena. I think that was good. After all, he had 19 other ~4 year olds to try to keep busy and attentive. I know he was watching her, though, and wondering how she would follow along.

Here is E warming up. The other kids were running around, jumping, doing runs as a group. Not only would that be exceedingly hard, E wasn't interested--instead she wanted to just kick the ball. Everyone seemed fine with that.

One of the other kids in the class is Julian; we met him in yoga class! He remembered E. How cute!

Here is Elena trying to keep up with the group. They are supposed to run across the field, get to their ball, and put their foot on it. Then dribble and stop repeatedly. Obviously E is slow, but she sort of kept up. She goes fast by taking large steps with her left leg, and smaller with her right. She does lean on her crutches A LOT on the field. Still, she never fell, and was out there for 45 minutes!! I think she will actually like this drill once she realizes she doesn't have to try to kick the ball as hard as she can EVERY time she kicks it.

Here's another drill, where the kids herd their ball into a net (facing the opposite direction). So, let me get this straight: there's running, dribbling, ball control, turning, and then going back to the group. A pretty tall order. Kids her age can do this, no sweat. Sure, she's slow. And she got frustrated when the ball didn't go the way she wanted. This clip highlights her differences. But...hey, it's not going away. It's REAL LIFE.

I'm not going to lie; I was out of town, worried to death this soccer experience would be a disaster. That E would be falling everywhere, upset, wanting to be like everyone else, crying her face off. She didn't. Jason said it was awesome. She LOVED IT.

That's all I could have hoped for. We can't wait for the next session!


Danny Housier said...

That is just plain awesome. Great to see E enjoying herself out there!

Mo said...

E...you make us proud, girl!

Meadow said...

Wow. She is such an amazing kid. Thanks for the reminder that it's about how much fun THEY HAVE, not what we parents fear.

I ran into a mom in the grocery the other day--she has an 11 yo daughter with CP. She said they started out in regular sports but had to switch to switch to adapted programs because her daughter would "get in the way" of the other kids. She said it was really hard for her daughter to accept not being able to participate in the teams with her friends.

Ever since then, it's been gnawing at me. Watching these videos makes me feel so much better. After all, it's elementary sports, not the Olympics, right?

I'm so glad E had such a blast! And she's got a great, kick, too!

caryanne said...

Thank you so much for posting this. It's so great to see E playing soccer. It gives me such hope for Ben.

Kat said...

Good job, E!!!

GingerB said...

I love seeing your daughter out in the world, kicking butt. Like Caryanne said, it gives me hope for my child. Thank you!

chelsea said...

I tear up with happy tears when I watch these clips - for you, for E and for one day seeing my Oliver do more of these things. PS- he just happens to be sleeping better these days- not due to any efforts on our part of course! (and the sleep study came back normal)