Last Thursday Abegail's soccer team was having a special coach come and work with them. He allowed Emmanuel and the coach's son to participate at the very beginning in the drills section. But then he needed to work with the girls and Emmanuel was encouraged to go kick the ball with a little boy his age.
E-man would not hear of it. He immediately started to have a BIG MAD. I tried everything, "E-man if you don't settle down you won't get to play at all." "OK, I'm going to count to ten and if you haven't stopped crying then we are going to the car." I tried to get him to the car but it was down two flights of stairs and he held onto the railing so tight I couldn't get him off. He was kicking and screaming. I finally wrestled him to the ground but he only hit me and ran away toward Abegail's coaches and stood there crying. I ran after him. He was pulling on my shirt so hard it was stretching and giving people a view no one wanted to see. The original coaches asked if he wanted to play a game with them and his son. No E-man wanted nothing to do with any of these people except the special coach.
The special coach reminded me of a 24 year old E-man. Incredibly athletic with head full of hair and skin so dark I first thought he might be from Africa. His drills were done to fast paced music, the kind E-man always wants me to play in the car. He was so coordinated it looked like he was performing with the Globetrotters. He obviously heard E-man's episode. Everyone heard it, people in neighboring towns heard it. I apologized over and over again. I tried to say, he has issues, he'll be fine. Finally the coach who we now know as Kephern said, "E-man you want to play?" Eman immediately stopped crying. "C'mon, get out here." E-man ran and got to scrimmage with the girls. Kephern looked back at me. "Did he come with you?" "Yes, I'm his mother." "OK, I'll talk to you afterward." Oh, jeez, I can just hear it, his skin is too dry, his hair is not oiled, and obviously I'm not disciplining him correctly.
At the end of practice, Coach Kephern came over to me and I had my, "I grade on a curve" speech all ready. But he said, "Yea, where's he from?" "Liberia" I said meekly. "Yea, I could tell he was African with his speed and his natural talent. I coach a group of select boys from ages 5-7. We practice throughout the year, maybe you want to come and see if he likes it and wants to play with them."
"Yes, we would love that, the more energy he can get out, the less energy he has for big mads. He has a lot of issues you know."
"Yea, Yea, its OK don't worry about that, we'll get him playing."
We have since learned Coach Kephern played professionally in Europe representing Holland. He also played for George Mason University which is right down the road. He coaches a private academy and a boys team E-man's age. But he trains a handful of boys E-man's age with these teams. We exchanged information and promised to be in touch.
I am A SOCCER MOM (it is all about me you know)
Yesterday I got an e-mail from Kephern. Practice would be Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 7:15 and Sundays from 4 to 5:30. Throw in a practice on Tuesdays for Emmanuel's regular league and a game Saturday and he'll be playing 5 times a week. If that doesn't settle him down then I am going to check and see if he is really human.
But yesterday was also Abegail's soccer practice. OK, I really want E-man to work with this guy, he's good, and he's a great black role model. So I figured it out. I'd take E-man, then take Abegail, then come back and watch E-man. Annie packed up her lip gloss and princess mirror and we were ready. Except getting kids out of the house for anything is like trying to fit a 3 bedroom house in a 24 foot budget truck. (memories..by the way I did see a budget truck pulling a uhaul van on one of my adventures so I'm not the only one who made that mistake)
Finally I get all my stuff in the car and put my keys on the seat to try and find Abegail who's decided to take one last bike ride in her school dress, you aren't ready yet?? In the meantime I lock the door but E-man thought he'd be helpful and put the keys back in the house. Luckily I had left the back door open, but now I have no gas and it's 5:00 traffic and E-man is playing at a field in Fairfax which is several long stop lights away. I get to the field 7 minute late drop him off with Kephern and his junior high team along with 3 other very athletic looking boys all E-man's height and run to take Abegail to practice.
Except as I'm walking back to the car it dawns on me. I really only met Kephern once. I know nothing about him or what he will do with my son for two hours and 15 minutes. I don't have his Epi-pen, what if he gets stung by a bee, has a big mad. etc. and so forth. On the hill is a mom, I asked her if she was going to stay the whole practice. She said yes and I gave her my cell phone number, just in case. She said, "what's your name? " I said Sue. But when she asked that I realized she didn't speak English very well and she wrote down SOL. (yes we all know what it stands for .... out of luck, and I think it's quite fitting) She said, "Is this right?"
"Perfect," I said.
Abegail looks at me, "Why did you tell her your name was SOL?"
"Because I'm really flustered and just have to get you to practice and I don't know."
Back to the field
I arrive back at E-man's practice about 6:50. He is still upright but it's obvious he's been playing hard. Abegail says, "E-man looks tired." Yes but he's still moving. I only remember him ever looking that tired one other time. But they were still going. About 14 six-year-olds all playing, scrimmaging, doing push-ups, then stretching. At 7:15 after two hours and 15 minutes, Eman is done. He comes over to me, "can we stay?" "Stay for what?" "I want to play some more." No honey we have to go..at which point he starts to have a big mad..OK we can stay for a minute.
He plays with Abegail a bit and then comes over to me ready to go but insists I have to carry him off the field.
"Really E-man you want your new coach and all those outstanding players to see your Mommy carrying you off the field?"
"Yes." OK then.
E-man was tired and hungry. Unfortunately he still had the energy to torment Annie and not go to bed on time. And all the while asking, when do I play soccer again with Kephern???
Quotes from Emmanuel
Yesterday I was mowing the lawn. E-man was already in his soccer uniform because there were only five hours until we had to go to practice.
E-man: Mommy, are you going to shower before my soccer so you don't stink?
Mommy: Yes E-man, I will make sure I look like the mother of a Champion