Dear Jack: You Scored Your 1st Goal in a Soccer Game!

6 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

It had been over two years since your Aunt Dana, Uncle Andrew, and cousins Calla and Darla had seen you play soccer. Things were a lot different back then, as you would just stand there and look down at the grass.

But this time around, they got to see a whole new you. They got to see an almost 7 year-old boy who actually cared about chasing and kicking the ball.

Mommy and I immediately noticed how, especially during this game, you were on fire! And you made it seem effortless.

I had the perfect seat in the grass as I watched you go foot-to-foot with a girl from the opposing team, who was nearly close enough to kick the ball in her goal. I yelled out, “Chase her, Jack! Chase her!”

And you did.

Then you got the ball…

You managed to zig and zag to the other side of the field, as you kicked the ball along. Finally, you were in the perfect position to kick the ball in the goal.

And you did!

I was so proud of you. I yelled so loud. It was such a big deal.

You acted like it wasn’t.

After the game, you walked your cousin Darla back to the parking lot, where the shiny 2017 Lexus IS 350 had undeniably gotten a bit dusty from the soccer field.

On the way back to the house, Mommy had to run in the grocery store to pick up a few things to make vegan tacos for dinner. I stayed in the Lexus with you and your sister. After we found a place to park, you took it upon yourself to read to your sister from your Pokemon book.

Your plan to appease her while Mommy was inside the store worked. I was grateful. You are growing up!

It was a very special Saturday morning. I couldn’t have been any more proud of you.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your 1st Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday you had your first ever soccer game! It might be expected for me to tell some high energy story where you scored a goal, in which I feature a picture of you kicking the ball into the net in a very pivotal moment in the game…

However, my goal for you last Saturday was a bit different: “Jack, just finish the game.”

I promise I’ll never be that stereotypical 1990s TV dad who tries to get his son to live out his own sports career dreams.

It doesn’t matter to me if you decided after this season that you never wanted to play on a soccer team again.

I just want you to be able to know that you gave it a shot so that you could decide for yourself whether you truly like soccer or not.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

You have good soccer skills, as demonstrated in your practices with Mommy and me in our driveway and even at the soccer field right before the actual game began on Saturday.

The thing getting in your way is that you don’t want to be forced to play soccer in front of other people… with other people.

Therefore, my goal for you will simply be for you to join the rest of the kids on the field by choosing to at least chase the ball around.

I say that because you just stood there, looking at the ground. It was pretty hilarious, actually. I shot this video of you doing the kick-off; you kicked the ball, then just waited and watched the other kids chase the ball as to say, “Alright, my job’s done here.”

It sure beats being the couple of kids who cried their way off the field and never finished.

Your challenge isn’t physical; you are very skilled in that department. Your challenge is a social one. (Not to mention, it was only 36 degrees outside!)

Granted, you are only 4 years old, so I think it’s only natural that you’re not eager to prove your physical skills on the field before a live audience.

If your coach and I can help you overcome your “stage fright”, then I can feel you really got something out of your first soccer season.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Your cousin Calla (and Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew) drove up from Alabama to see you. We carpooled in their Toyota Highlander.

To help us find the way to the soccer field, you had painted us a map with your watercolors. You also made sure to bring along your newest stuffed animal, Spot; a $5 purchase from Kohl’s.

So we’ll see how the rest of the season goes. I just want you to have fun. I think after a few more games, you’ll start coming out of your “shell.”

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Get it? Because our last name is Shell?

Meanwhile, at your school this week, your teacher Ms. Aimee gave me a fun update:

Here are some photos of Jack from today! We had a blast playing outside with chalk! 

My favorite photo is the grumpy face, I couldn’t help but take it when I looked at him.

“Ms. Aimee, I can’t draw my picture!”

“Oh, why not hun?”

“Because, you’re STANDING on it!”

I about died laughing, while evilly taking his picture… hehe.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Looking ahead, we’ve got Easter coming up. I’m sure it will be great family fun! I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it in my next letter to you…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School