We Put Our Toddler in Sports: Yes, AlreadyBeth Anne Ballance
About a month ago, one of my best friends emailed me regarding a local parish soccer league for toddlers, wondering if Harrison would be interested. I was all, OF COURSE HE WOULD BE! and quickly signed the kiddo up for an August start date. Harrison is known at his daycare for being the kid that can run and kick the ball at the same time, so I figure that soccer is pretty much right up his league. Running? Check. Balls? Check. Lots of kids? Check, check! That’s his jam.
We talked up the soccer team and how his friend Holden would be joining him and how much fun he would have. The league requires shin guards and a ball, but the sports store offered a cheap “combo pack,” so the little guy got some size 9 cleats, too.
I KNOW. Cleats on a toddler. It’s too cute for words. (see also: ridiculous)
On Saturday, we piled into the car and drove to his game. Slathered him with sunscreen and decked him out in his uniform. I snapped pictures and willed my heart to keep beating despite the cute and grown-up-ness of my boy. I wondered, would he score a goal? Run with the pack? Or lay down and cry?
My friends, he laid down and cried. The idea of kicking his soccer ball and getting it dirty horrified him. The pack of kids intimidated him. So instead, we sat on the sidelines and watched. He ran circles and climbed the bleacher and asked to be held a few times, but no way, no how was he getting out on that field.
And I was 100% okay with that. The purpose of him joining this little league was not to be scouted for college, but rather to give him a social activity. My boy is shy and I like to find activities where he will know someone for security but also get a chance to make new friends. We’ll keep going to the games and if he wants to keep sitting on the sidelines in his cleats, then so be it. Maybe next year he’ll score a goal.
What sports is your toddler in? Do you think it’s inappropriate for toddlers to have team sports?
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