Soccer Dad

I’m not buying a minivan.  Ever.

Rena had her first day of soccer practice this past Tuesday, and it was HILARIOUS.

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She was very excited to go, and I was very excited to take her.  I thought it’d be fun for her and good for her, mentally and physically.  Obviously, being active is good for kids, but her friends have basically always been picked out for her, either by my last girlfriend or myself, our friends that have kids automatically became her friends.  That’s not really fair, or healthy in my opinion, to Rena.  Plus, this is the first thing I’ve involved her in that is actually competitive.

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I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a kids soccer game/practice, but it is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Little girl wearing goggles rolling around on the ground, kids running the wrong way – all of the cliches you’ve heard of, they’re real.

I won’t go too into the details of the practice, but Rena started off strong, then faded towards the end (I’m going to experiment a little with her pre-training nutrition.)  She thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so, that she thought it was every day and told Mimi that, when practices are only on Tuesdays and games on Saturdays, with the first game coming up this Saturday.

We’ve been practicing in the backyard since then, and she doesn’t seem to understand that the other team is going to be trying to keep her from scoring, however it is that 5-year-olds do that.  My parents have a weenie dog that just loves to play defense, and Rena’s methods for getting the ball back are worthy of at least a yellow card in a game.  She yells at the dog and spanks him.  I hope she doesn’t try that on Saturday.

This brings me to my realization though – what if she’s not any good at sports?  Sports were a HUGE part of my life, still are.  I was also pretty good at them growing up (though I never played soccer) and was very competitive.  She’s a girl, and she may not have that competitive fire that I did.  Somehow, I have to figure out how to be ok with that.  Until I know for sure though, be on the look out for the next Mia Hamm.

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Getting back on the horse

Rena and I finally got to have our weekend on the water!  It wasn’t on a huge lake with my cousins and everybody, but it ended up being more private (see: better.)  I had a busy weekend going to Dallas for a school/career event Friday morning, then to Austin for SXSW that evening and finally winding up in Zorn Saturday morning where we stayed with my dad’s best friend.  Who happens to live on a PRIVATE ski lake.

Rena’s been on a boat with my before, and I’ve even gotten her to ride a tube (at a safe speed) by herself.  I would love to get her into water sports down the line, but that’ll be up to her; and after this weekend, it may be unlikely.

Everything was fine on Saturday.  I finally got to ride my new wakeboard and she rode around in the boat with my dad and Bobby, his friend.  She enjoyed it, but she won’t scream.  She’ll be goofy and scream the entire time we are inside, but once we get on the boat, where it’s perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to scream, she refuses!  Regardless, we both had a great Saturday and my parents took us out to eat to Mozie’s, their favorite restaurant in Gruene, where they have the best garlic fries in the universe.

Rena woke up early and got to see Bobby do his morning ski passes that he does every day.  She even told me later that he is “really cool.”  I woke up later and her, my mom and myself all went to the San Marcos Outlet Mall and all we heard about was that he had to get back so I could wakeboard.  We finished shopping for my sister’s birthday and immediately got ready to get on the boat when we got back.

I road my wakeboard until I could barely hold on to the rope anymore, when Rena asks if she can get on the tube.  Awesome!  I really wanted her to, but didn’t want to push it on her if she was scared.  So Bobby and myself go and air up the tube.  We come back and Rena’s hanging out in the boat with Mimi; she’s more than ready at this point, airing up the tube took way too long!

We get on the tube, her on the right side, me on the left and Bobby takes off in the boat, pulling us behind.  He doesn’t go too crazy because of Rena, but she was really enjoying it.  After we did a few passes back and forth across the lake I let go to let her get used to doing it on her own.  She’s done it before, she’ll be fine right?  Wrong, Dad.  She made it back and forth a couple times then, out of nowhere, the front of her tube goes under and she flies off into the water.  She had her life-jacket on, so she floated back up immediately and grabbed on to the handles on the tube.  I ran down the shore to help her, but my mom was on the boat and was able to get her out of the water before I got there.  We tried to assure her that she was OK (because she was) and let her know that she did very good by popping up and getting ahold of the handles as quickly as she did.  She calmed down enough to get back on the tube with me if I promised to not let go again.  And this is where it hit the fan.

I figured the best thing to do was to get her back on the horse, or the tube in this case, so that she could conquer her fear.  That’s how I was raised and it worked out fine for me.  Well, we get back on and Bobby’s driving the boat even slower this time, I’m holding on to the tube with my left hand and have my right arm around Rena to where she’s pressed tightly against the tube.  Apparently, that wasn’t enough.  She started FREAKING OUT as soon as we took off.  At the turn around point, Bobby slowed down to a stop since she was freaking out.  I convinced Rena to let me hop off so that I could grab her and get her off the tube.  I hop off and Bobby just started to go, which took her freaking out to an entirely new level.

I felt terrible because I promised her that I wasn’t going to do that, and in theory, I didn’t, I was trying to rescue her.  It just didn’t work out that way and she said she was never getting on a boat again.  I guess the lesson learned is that she is a little girl and the same things that worked for me as a young fella won’t necessarily work for her as a little lady.

She ended up getting over it and we had a nice and safe trip back home.  She hasn’t mentioned it, but I’m sure I haven’t heard the last of it yet.  Live and learn.  And let her get back on the horse when she’s good and ready.mimiandamonkey

Adaptability and Sacrifice

This post was supposed to be about all the fun Rena and I had going camping and wakeboarding with my cousins this weekend.  Instead, Texas happened.

Living in Texas, the weather is never the same for consecutive days.  This weekend was no exception.

This weekend wasn’t just a typical weekend of planned fun, there were many factors involved that made this one a little different.

For Christmas I got my own wakeboard from my parents and I’ve been dying to get it on the water.  Well, my cousin has a boat and his little brother is on leave from the Marines so they’re going camping.  Awesome, this is the perfect opportunity for me to complete my board and break it in.  My mom went with me and got me some top of the line boots, a killer life jacket and new board shorts as my early graduation gift.  I’m about as pumped as I can get for the weekend.

I was initially considering skipping my Saturday morning class so that I could go up to Lake Somerville for the full weekend.  My mom convinced me to go ahead and go to class, I’ve only got 70 days left until graduation and I’d still get to ride my board plenty.

I was up late packing mine and Rena’s bags, got the car all loaded up and finally went to bed ready to tackle my morning class and then go cut up the lake.  My class is on the other side of Houston, on the way to Somerville, so she was going to meet me to keep me from wasting time and gas.  Well, I’m nearly to class when I get a call from a classmate informing me that class has been cancelled.

Most people’s initial reaction would be something positive.  I, however, was pretty upset.  “You mean to tell me I could’ve been camping for two days already?!”  Obviously, my mom wasn’t even on her way yet, so I head home to get Rena ready and head out.

The weather was pretty chilly, probably too chilly to go wakeboarding, but like I said, this wasn’t just ANY weekend, I got my new board and everything, I’ve got to try it out, right?  I was ready, willing and able to go jump in the freezing water for a few pulls at a time, even if it meant getting a little sick later.

Turns out, Rena was already coming down sick.  Nothing too bad, but if that were to be combined with the freezing water, wind and never being completely warm, she would’ve gotten much worse.  So I made the responsible decision and called my aunt to inform her that we couldn’t risk Rena getting any sicker.

It’s only Monday and she’s already feeling better, and I am coming down with what she avoided.  In my face.  At least she’s better.

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