It's Not Whether You Win or Lose, It's Whether You Get a Medal
But on the last night, I don't know what got into him. He started running after the ball. And kicking it in the right direction. Finally, he dribbled it right over and kicked it about 10 feet into the goal.
This didn't phase him at all because, like I said, while it was a goal, it wasn't the goal. Which was making friends, and looking like a superhero at all times.
His coach passed out medals. Once home, Richie changed into his jammies and put the medal on again.
He read the engraved words to me: "It says, Dear Oggie. Thank you for coming to my soccer game. Amen." Oggie is his friend and teamate.
He climbed onto the couch and I told him how special it was to score a goal in a soccer game. He stared at me blankly.
"Remember when I turned into a machine?" he asked me.
"Yes," I said.
"Look," he said, pinching himself. "I'm back to normal again."
Then he noted, "I only like one vegetable. And it's bananas."
In the car, Johnny was sad that he didn't get a medal. He's not playing soccer this season because I'd always coached him and this year, I didn't get a team together. Plus, he's taking chess lessons and I just figured we'd take a breather.
I responded to his sadness by telling him that he had a wonderful life and should stop feeling sorry for himself.
He said, "But I never got a medal when I played soccer."
"You got a trophy," I said.
"But it was plastic!" he cried.
Yes, when I coached Johnny in soccer, I passed out plastic trophies filled with candy. I didn't know I had a fine metal appraiser for a son! Plus, I couldn't figure out where in the heck to buy medals, like all the other coaches/moms/dads knew by parental instincts, apparently. It was one of many fiascos that year. Such as how the other team's coach would say, "What's the most important thing to remember during the game?" And they would yell, "To have fun!" and I would ask the question and my players would say, "Not to punch anyone!" because one of our players would do just that if not reminded from the get-go not to.
Anyway, you live, you learn. But I always knew Johnny wanted a real medal, and I felt bad that as his coach and mom, I couldn't deliver. I probably had some deadline to meet the day I should have googled "Medals soccer Kansas City."
Still, I reiterated the fact that he should appreciate his wonderful life.
I drove home, feeling guilty that as the first child, Johnny bore the brunt of my parental cluelessness. For instance, come to find out, you don't have to organize an entire team, you just sign the kid up and they put him on a team. With a coach who knows where to buy medals.
The radio played some generic rock song.
I heard a voice in the back seat, which sounded like, "Mama? I ya ma omie."
I turned down the radio.
"What did you say, Johnny?" I asked.
"Mama," he said. "I like my trophy."