Monday, August 16, 2010

It's My Day

DH hated dodgeball as a kid, and yet they played it every Friday on the playground at school, without fail.  He hated getting hit with the ball, he couldn't catch, and it was always just a matter of time before he got nailed and sent to sit down.

Until one day, something special happened.  He was tired of feeling like a dodgeball victim, so he decided--just DECIDED that he was going to have a good dodgeball experience for once.  He was going to catch the ball today, and he was going to hit the people on the other side, and NO ONE was going to hit him with the ball.  Today was going to be *his* day.  And the most magical part?  It worked.  He was on fire.  All the other kids were amazed, because they had never seen him catch even one ball before.  Now he was catching every one that came anywhere near him.

I think I had heard this story before, but it was deep in the recesses of my memory.

Well, Barley had a pretty amazing game last weekend.  We've gotten used to his never starting a game.  There are times when we can see the coach looking to put in a substitute player, and Barley is several feet away, playing with the grass instead of paying attention to the game, his back to the field.  The coach puts in someone sitting closer who is focused on the action.  Sigh.  DH and I joked that we should donate a comfortable bench as the team assembles its equipment, since our son will clearly be spending a lot of time sitting on it.  As non-jocks, this does not surprise us as much as the fact that Barley does actually have some athletic skill.

Anyway, DH and I both sat up when we saw that Barley was actually in the starting line-up at the opening whistle last weekend.  And he was a Forward!  Most of Barley's field time lately has been in the goal box, and sometimes as a Defender.  Rarely as a Midfielder, which he loves, as it means he is allowed to be anywhere on the field.

We have several great aggressive Forwards on the team, and seeing Barley playing that position made us nervous, while excited at the same time.  The end of last season, he "accidentally" scored TWO goals, so it was nice to see him have a chance to do so again.  While the goals are costing the other parents $5 each time their kid scores, DH and I have a sweet deal--one full roll of Lifesavers hard candy--costs $1.  Although we have explained the economics to Barley, he still wants the candy instead--go figure.

Barley was all over the ball.  He passed and then got in position to receive it back.  At one point, when a teammate kicked toward the goal, Barley kept running, so that he was in position to kick the ball AGAIN when the goalie blocked but fumbled the catch.  Their goalie recovered and blocked it again, but we were terribly proud that Barley had put himself in the position to take that second shot.  By the end of the game, we were ecstatic at his play.  Yes, the team had won, even though Barley scored no goals of his own.  We were very proud, and very excited at the focus and great effort that Barley put in.  It was a nice turnaround from the whining about not wanting to go to practice that we have been hearing the last few weeks.

On the ride home, DH asked Barley what made the difference for him today?  Barley's answer puzzled me until DH put it in the context of his dodgeball story:

"It was My Day today!"

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