Monday, July 14, 2008

British Soccer Camp in Fitchburg, WI

The university student aged instructors are from Brighton, Scarborough, and somewhere in Wales. For the children and parents of Fitchburg: if you speak with an English accent, you are an automatic soccer/footy expert. If the instructors told the children to stand on their heads, all parents and children would say: "What brilliant instruction!" Wisconsin coaches would stand children on their heads all through the next soccer season.

My niece is in British Soccer Camp for 6 year olds. The children were dribbling, and instructors would come up and act scary, and the children would laugh and dribble around the instructors. My niece, when confronted with a scary acting instructor, gave up her dribble, turned 180 degrees, and ran away from the scary instructor as fast as she could. It seemed the sensible thing to do.

Later, when the children were to run around a cone and kick a ball through the goal, a girl refused. She stood in line and shook her head: no, no, no, no, no. You had to be there. It was funny. NO(!) was her communication to all. So, my niece went flying by her and took her turn kicking the ball.

A 2 1/2 year old observer went up to a ball and pointed at it. "Kick it!" everyone encouraged her. After much deliberation and encouragement, she issued forth the most dainty toe tap ever. The ball rocked forward an inch, then resettled in the same location in the grass. The girl ran back to her Mom, to great acclaim from all for her wonderful achievement.

"It's hot!" said the Wales instructor to me. "Yes, it is hot" I replied, even though it is Wisconsin, and even though it is cooler and more pleasant that Texas will be at any time before mid September.

Since arriving in WI, I've played Barbies(the key is to keep changing the Barbies' into new outfits), worked a puzzle with my niece, sung songs with my niece, twice watched my niece swim at the pool(she can jump off the diving board now), pushed her swing, sat beside her at every meal, been tickle attacked ("Uncle Greg, you can tickle me if you want to"), ferried her to and fro ... only to be thoughtfully, sincerely informed: "Uncle Greg, you're really not my favorite Uncle." What?! What does an Uncle have to do to get some respect around here?!

Tomorrow, we will be off to soccer camp, then zoo camp, then a T-Ball game. Being less than the favorite Uncle is a busy job.

I'm going to cut back on the blogging - to maybe just a few blog posts between now and September - or maybe not even that. I feel like staying away from the keyboard. I feel more like reading books, and watching bugs, clouds, dogs, and children. It is time to focus on pears.  Have a nice summer.

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