When I was pregnant with Nicholas, we had such a hard time picking out a name for him. I think we started with a list of 50 names and had to narrow it down from there. One night I had a dream that I stepped outside our back door on a sunny day and called to my little boy to come to me to get a snack or something like that. The little boy had blonde hair and he came running up to me with a big smile on his face. He was wearing a soccer uniform. What stuck with me most about the dream was that the name I called out was Nicholas. Although that name was on our list of potential names, there were others that were still highly considered. Yet for some reason, the name Nicholas stuck with me after that dream and I'm glad we finally chose it to name our little guy.
Amazingly, he did turn out to be blonde with a big beautiful smile. So it was only natural for me to want him to join a soccer team, right? Actually, Stuart had played soccer when he was little and so did my little brother. I had wanted to be on a soccer team too when I was young but dance, swimming, and piano lessons took up most of my free time. Nicholas loves to run and play with balls so soccer is a perfect match for him. We even had soccer goals up in our back yard for a while and Nicholas and I would try to kick the ball past each other into the goals.
We signed him up for a program called Upward Soccer. It is a great program that not only teaches soccer skills but also teaches sportsmanship and Christ-like behavior. They have practice for one hour each week. At each practice, the coach will deliver a short devotion to the players and the children can get rewarded for learning Scripture verses. The games are not like standard soccer but a 4v4 format with smaller fields and no goalkeeper which makes it easier for younger children. There is one game each week. The referee leads the two teams in a prayer midfield before the game. After the game, awards are given to players for Best Effort, Best Sportsmanship, Best Offense, Best Defense, and Christlikeness.
Today Nicholas was scheduled for his soccer evalution. The coaches time the children on various skills so they can know each player's skill levels and match up different skill levels on each team. They timed him on 4 skills - running, kicking a soccer ball into a goal from three different positions, dribbling a ball down the field for 20 yards and back again, and kicking a ball around a slalom course of cones. He did pretty well except for kicking the ball around all the cones. The coach ended up stoping the timer on that one and said to just bring him on back. He had fun out there though. I hope this will be a good experience for him that he enjoys and learns from.