Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bribing the Coach

Yay! Today is our favorite day, Soccer day! [/sarcasm] Ben does half an hour of "Mommy and Me" soccer in the morning, and A. does 40 minutes of Soccer I in the afternoon.

In the morning, Mommy cajoles Ben into staying on the field after he states halfway through, "I'm finished now. Let's go home," or even carries him while dribbling a soccer ball (and scoring! Gooooooaaaaaallll!).

In the afternoon, A. refuses to play soccer while we try everything we can think of to get him out there. He tells us he's afraid of, at varying times, the coach, the field, and the other kids. There are two other terribly frightening kids in the class, one of which is a friend of his in kindergarten. The other is a little boy who looks at A. adoringly and laughs at all his jokes. He's played with both kids in the adjacent playground. Very scary. The coach has been nothing but kind and friendly with him. And the grass....well, it's a different field, but it's grass and it's green.

G. tried a paradoxical intervention with him and told him that we were going to help him get over his fears and have the soccer coach and teammates over for dinner. G. told me privately that he'd be willing to pay the guy $75 to come to dinner if it worked, but his hope was that the idea of having to entertain the coach would be so frightening (to whom? Me or A.?) that A. would play in order to avoid it.

Unfortunately, his plan backfired and A. was very excited to plan his own dinner party, complete with the coach, his teammates, and, because why not?...his best friends from school. He told me that if he didn't play soccer, he got to have friends over for dinner!

I said "No. You don't get rewarded for not playing soccer. You play tomorrow and we'll talk about the dinner party afterward."

He agreed that he was going to play today.

When we got to the field, he developed a sudden lame leg. We didn't care. He hopped. We told him to hop on over to the soccer field. I told him I was excited to see him play soccer on one leg. He whined, he clung, he cried, he tore away from the coach who tried to take his hand.

I told him to stay behind me and I would walk onto the field with him. He agreed, hanging onto my sweatshirt. We joined the coach and other kids, and the coach told A. that he'd heard he was a pro and hoped A. would help him teach the class. A. jumped out from behind me and declared, "Yes, I'm pretty good." And he was off, showing how he kicked the ball backwards and how fast he ran.

I couldn't believe how easily he warmed up once he was out on that damn field. I don't know if he just gave up the power struggle or if he remembered, "Oh yeah, I do like soccer."

But he still wants his dinner party.


HeyItsBeej said...

Any way you could turn the end of the season "banquet" thingy into the dinner party? Encourage him to keep going and at the end of the season he can have his team bruhaha?

Carrie said...

I was thinking the same thing as Beej--make it a "reward" for sticking with soccer? I dunno--I'm neither parent nor psychologist and there is a very good chance that Paul and I will manage to warp a child who will be paying your bills for many, many years. :)

Oh, my word verification is "somyuba." I don't know what it is but it looks like it could be an A. word.

Lunasea said...

I wish - we don't have a banquet thingy because it's just a class through the rec dept.

It's hard to explain how we're switching from "dinner party if you don't play soccer" to "dinner party if you do play soccer," but I suppose if we can explain leprechauns and the Easter Bunny, this'll be a no-brainer.

I gotta tell ya, having the coach plus the rest of the soccer class and their parents over for dinner is pretty high on the list of Things I Didn't Realize I Never Want to Do. Gah.

My Brand Of Crazy... said...

Now ya need to have the coach come to the dinner party...but be afraid to actually enter your house and participate. This means A. would have to be the one doing the convincing. This means you can see what tactics he uses on the coach and use them on him at a later date.
I'm diabolical;)

Lunasea said...

Ooh, that's a good idea, BBM. We might have to increase the stipend if we're going to require a performance from the coach, though.

HeyItsBeej said...

Throw some really good beer in that stipend. At'll do it.

Switching the motivation for a party will involve a little dance but it won't be that bad. Instead of having them at your house, could you maybe all meet up at a park and have a "snacks-o-plenty and frolicking with soccer buds" partylike thing? It'd be cheap, barely any cleanup, no trashing of your house, etc.

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