Our daughter started playing competitive sports at the ripe old age of six, when we signed her up for t-ball. Our biggest concern wasn’t teaching her the fundamentals of the game, but rather teaching her not to play in the dirt. Though we completely understood how hard it was to hold her attention while kids stood at bat, time and time again, missing the ball when it was sitting on a tee.
But I’m finding it may have been her age, and not the lack of action, that drove her to dig for ants every week. My six year old son is now playing soccer in two games each Sunday afternoon and I see him repeating her behavior when he gets bored.
Yesterday he managed to hang in there for the first four quarters, but by the sixth he was starting to fade.
After his coach sat him down on the sideline for a break, I looked over to see him picking at the grass. I flashed back to my daughter kicking up dust with her cleats.
I looked over again to see him gathering his teammate’s practice balls into a circle and I remembered how my daughter would take her glove off and throw it in the air, to play catch with herself, right in the middle of a play.
But then he went a completely different route than his sister, because the next time I looked over he was going around that circle kissing each and every soccer ball as he went by. And for the life of me, I couldn’t recall his sister ever making out with her bat.