Jairus and the Soccer Tournament

Saturday, October 4, 2014

This is our second year involved in a local, and rather large, homeschooling group called T.E.A.C.H. (To educate a child's heart).  I really enjoy and appreciate what it offers us, as of course organized sports are not something we can easily conjure up for ourselves.  This year, as last, only Jairus and Honour are old enough to actually participate in the sports programs.  Last year they both did basketball, floor hockey and a bit of baseball.  The program runs for 3 weeks of two hour sessions that they call "skills and drills", and then after that the teams are chosen.  Last year neither Jairus or Honour made any of the teams, but this was understandable because they were both among the youngest of the groups. Well...and because Jairus' main goal was to have fun. :-)

As this new school year started, I saw that soccer was being held.  We missed it last year for some reason.  As soccer is pretty much Jairus' favourite sport, I knew there was no question that we'd go to it.  Verity's gym schedule made it tricky, as she needed to be in Caledonia at the same time as soccer started in Brantford.  We split the difference; Verity was early and we were late.

After the 3rd skills and drills session, we were packing up to go when the coach for the boys team came over to me.  He worked with Jairus last year with no problems, so I was pleased to see him coaching the soccer boys.  As he approached, he had a grin and was chuckling a bit.  He told me that if I thought Jairus would be ok with it, he would put him on the team.  I was pretty surprised, and I guess it was obvious.  He explained that he'd made it clear to the boys that skills were not going to be the only deciding factor to making the team, but that attitude would count for a lot.  He described Jairus' encouraging behaviour with the other boys and said that he wouldn't mind at all if Jairus was on the team.  He cautioned that Jairus may not get much actual field time, but this was something he was telling all the boys.  I was SO pleased, and told him that I'd talk to Jairus and let him know.  Truthfully, I wasn't sure how much Jairus would actually understand; after participating in the sports last year for only the 3 skills and drills each time, I thought he might not realize that these were actually part of the try-out process.  However, that night as he was going to bed I mentioned it to him, and he really did seem to understand--and was pleased and excited.

This past Monday he had his first set of exhibition games, which since I had to work, James took the day off to take him to.  It was a good afternoon and Jairus got a little time on the field.

Friday of this week was the big soccer tournament, attended by the area Christian schools. T.E.A.C.H. is a member of the organization.  
We got there just past 8:30am and got Jairus into his shirt, cleats and shin guards.  The morning was warm and bright, with a strong wind.  Jairus started to get warmed up with his team.

The boys had 4 games that morning and I wasn't surprised that Jairus didn't get to play in any of them.  Happy as he so often is, it didn't seem to bother him.  Often as I checked on him, he'd be hopping around with an extra ball behind the bench, or standing near the coach, like a little assistant.  During the breaks, one of Jairus' friends invited him to play around. :-)

Rain was in the forecast for around lunchtime, and unfortunately the weather man did not lie.  By 12:45 or so, the rain started to fall and many kids took shelter under the big tarp someone had wisely brought.

They had won 3 games out of 4 during the morning but the rain made things difficult.  They lost what was a semi finals game which sent them into a consolation game for 3rd place.  The first half of the game saw the boys let in 4 goals...not so great for the team, but good news for Jairus!  James had arrived by this point and we were both excited to see the coach's wife help Jairus off with his jacket.  He was on the field!

Now that he'd gotten on the field, my next goal was that he'd kick the ball.  Jairus is not terribly aggressive out there and would do a lot of running around a safe distance away from the action.  But finally he was in the right spot at the right time...and gave the ball a good kick (in the right direction!!).  I was just thrilled.  Despite the soaking rain, he had a great time.


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