Soccer envy

I've been walking around with this quote in my head recently, "Comparison is the thief of joy".

I have almost always lived in communities where the general population is more affluent than I am. I'm kind of used to it. But it's something else to see it through the eyes of your own children. To demand contentment as I struggle with it myself.

We've been tying ourselves in knots this soccer season, wondering what to do for Ethan in the future. He has played this past year in a "developmental league", part of a popular soccer club he's been with for years.

Coaches have been telling us he is ready for the next level, a travel team. Of course, these coaches work for the club and are also salesmen. They offer dreams of soccer happiness and prestige. They make it sound necessary. I let myself buy into it.

Unfortunately, it's a pricey dream. I don't like to talk (whine) about finances on my blog. But it's a part of life and unavoidable sometimes. The best travel teams charge at least $1300 per year around these parts.

Yes, we are talking about a child playing a sport. Just a game. Which Ethan loves. Which Ethan is good at and passionate about. It's something we would like to give him.

I looked around for alternatives and thanks to a good recommendation, thought I'd found one. A team with the added benefit of including many of Ethan's school friends. I took Ethan to a couple practices to check it out. Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed when the projected price for next season was presented.

I must admit,initially, I thought we could do it and was ready to push for it. Then I slept on it and found some sense. Yes, it would be possible but not at all responsible. We have three other children. This is soccer we are talking about.

I got some perspective. Realized that this was probably more about my own ego, wanting to be part of the best, wanting Ethan to be among the best, than anything else. I was feeling the need to give my children what all the children around them seem to have.

We're not talking about feeding or clothing or educating my child. We are talking about kicking a ball.

And I had a good ol' ugly cry but now I'm done. I think.

We can still put Ethan back in the same league for one more year and worry about what to do later. It's a good league, with good coaches and honestly, when I get my head on straight, I realize it's more than enough.

Now, to tell Ethan.


Joanna said...

Oh, man. Been there. Some days I think I LIVE there. I wanted your story to end with some sugar daddy descending from the sky (or the bleachers) to make it happen, but that rarely happens. What happens all the time is moms having ugly cries and then coming out to make spaghetti.

We picture kids being about the huge issues and the graduations and the Lifetime movie moments. In fact, it's a lot about shoes and co-pays and wildly contemplating stealing the purse of the mom next to you and running :).

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. We live in a VERY affluent community. Travel baseball (excuse me, "ALL-STAR" baseball) is very big around here. It's very very expensive. My boys are very good at baseball, but, alas, we cannot afford "ALL-STAR" baseball. The parents here all seem to think that their sons will have their baseball contracts signed by the time they are 8 years old. Then after the season is finished, the boys like to walk around in their all-star uniform shirts to brag about how great they are. *sigh* I really don't want my boys to be part of that. Everyone will eventually see what they can do. I don't even cry about it.