When time for soccer sign-up at school was announced to Amelia she told her 1st grade teacher Mrs. Kinzer, "Absolutely not!" But at the time of the first game Amelia quickly realized that on the Kijabe compound essentially all of the kids were playing soccer and nobody was around to play with.
"Would you like to go see what Soccer is all about and go up to school and watch the game?" I asked. Reluctantly Amelia agreed and we walked up to the field. Before long being a spectator was not nearly sufficient and Amelia put on a Green Penny and entered the field. (It was a proud moment for Dad as I have always enjoyed soccer tremendously.) There she went pony tails bouncing, running up and down the field, finding her way into the swarm of players. She even contacted the ball once inadvertently as it richocheted off her shin. Meredith and Sara and I cheered,"Go Amelia!" She stopped, found our glance, smiled and took after the swarm of players surrounding the ball again.
It was fun for Amelia until she was accidentally bumped by a third grade boy (soccer is mixed gender and mixed grade to account for the small number of kids) to the ground. Her arm was scraped and she began to cry. The rest of the game was spent in Mom's lap and to make matters worse they lost 6-0 and the other coach brought cookies for their team and Amelia's coach didn't bring any treats.
Playing organized semi-contact sports does not come natural for Amelia and I believe really takes a lot of courage for her. I expected that she would be done for the rest of season. But the next week to my surprise, Amelia said, "Dad I think I'll try soccer again."
She has continued to play..always keeping a comfortably safe distance from the ball.