Just last week, she begged to quit, so as we pulled up to the soccer fields and unloaded for the final practice of the season, my expectations weren’t high.
She thought she’d be a natural; honestly, we all had. Her father was a collegiate player, and she takes after him in so many other areas. She swims like a champ—got that from him—so, I guess we all thought she’d be great at soccer too. Not that there was any pressure, or that this expectation was ever discussed, but looking back, I now realize that she must have felt it.
But soccer did not come naturally for Ellie, so by mid-season, she’d lost interest (and lost heart).
Which is why I was surprised to see her hustling across the field during that final scrimmage, her cheeks pink and hair sticky, vying for the ball like a girl who loved the game.
Afterwards she came huffing over to where Evy and I lay in the grass, our faces turned toward the crescent moon. She plopped down beside us, and we looked to each other.
“Mama, I have something important to tell you,” she whispered.
I watched her chest rise and fall, her lungs taking in the crisp autumn air.
“What is it, Baby,” I said simply.
“I think I did Bravery tonight.”
I almost giggled, but she was so serious; I wouldn’t dare.
I let her continue talking about how she gave it all her heart, how she wants to do her best, how she’s not ready to give up, and that she thinks she should start practicing with her dad.
She was Brave.
She really wanted to quit (like faked-a-stomach-ache-last-game wanting to quit).
She really wants to be good at her daddy’s sport, but in her five-year-old heart, she knows that even with effort, she may never be. And that’s scary.
Yet tonight, she decided to try anyway. She decided to do bravery.
Not a thousand goals could make this soccer mom any prouder.