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Move Over, Mia: Maddie's Got Game

For a few months now, Maddie’s been developing a new hobby – soccer. We bought a ball for her last summer that’s roughly the size of a soccer ball, though much lighter, and she’s enjoyed rolling it, sitting on it, and so forth, all year now. But a few months ago Brian introduced her to the whole concept of “kicking” the ball and running after it, and she hasn’t slowed down since.

At first relegated to a small indoor game of “keep-away”, Maddie was dragging the ball to the park every day it was nice enough (read: no snow on the ground) and kicking it around. She’s amazingly good at it, with a fundamental ability to run to the ball and get in a decent kick without stopping. I watch her and am astonished – the kid’s better at it than I am!

This past weekend was the first day in a few weeks the weather cooperated enough to get us to the park with the ball, and the entire neighborhood was out in force. Older kids played a real game of soccer on Maddie’s “turf” and she was a bit subdued watching them run around. In a neighborhood that’s got more than its fair share of nationalities like Ecuador, Ireland, and Italy, soccer’s no joke. When they took a break, though, Mommy and Gamma brought out Maddie’s ball and she was soon screaming with delight and chasing after the thing.

A few minutes into our “game” a sweet little boy of about six or seven came over and asked if he could join. I explained Maddie was only 21 months and he might be bored, but he assured us he’d be ok. From then on out, it was Maddie vs. Mohammed (for which a tired, pregnant Mommy was very grateful) as he kindly chased after the ball for her, let her win most of the scuffles, and generally herded her around the safe zones. When Maddie finally tired and called for a snack break, he seemed genuinely disappointed. And I’m sure I’m not biased when I tell you my kid really did hold her own.

Most days it’s Maddie and Naomi on the ball (and Mommy and Ingrid, of course – we’re the goalies that keep the ball from going into the men’s bathroom) and they have a great time, screaming and laughing and sharing pretty well. My daughter’s all-time favorite opponent, though, is Daddy, and the two of them tussling over the ball is a sight to behold. He’s teaching her basic technique, and I swear I saw him explaining how to hit a “header” while she listened earnestly.

So look out, Olympics 2018- Maddie’s coming.


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