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Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Proud Dad...

It is days like today that make me really miss my Dad. I think today is, on the record, one of the proudest days I have ever experienced as a father, if it isn’t the top day, it is in the top five. Today was Dryver’s first ever official soccer game. He has taken classes for a year or so with Coach Bill and recently Jennifer signed him up for the Alexandria Soccer League to be a part of a pre-Kindergarten team. I was a little cynical and apprehensive that it would be stressful on him and he would have problems getting involved and being a part of the team and learning the game.

I have constantly worried about Dryver being reticent and thought that sports would be a great way to get him out of his shell. I also did fret that if he did not really enjoy sports that he would continue to struggle and would have a hard time fitting in with his peers. I have always been concerned that if he felt like he was not as good as the others on the team he would quit and really lose his motivation and the self-esteem that is so important at this age for kids. Dryver is such a sweet little kid and truly so caring of others around him. Dryver is the kind of kid that is incredibly self-aware and desires to make sure everyone is okay. He also has been a pretty anxious kid and he continues to lack some very important building blocks of belief in himself, which is critical when kids are growing up.

Well, today, I watched my little boy step out on the soccer field and come to life. This shy and worried kid was animated, energized, and confident. I have never in my life seen Dryver walk around and interact in such a secure manner. It was like the minute he walked out on the field he was empowered with some internal strength that just exploded onto the field. Dryver was empowered, proud, and was truthfully confident. It is a Dryver that we don’t see very often, but it is a Dryver that makes us proud.

Dryver was amazing out on the field and was a true team player. He was athletic, confident, driving, and joyful! He kept looking over at both Jennifer and me and smiling in a way that I have never seen before. He went after the ball on the field and played with a vigor that was just amazing. He was willing to take risks and be a true leader on the field. He scored goal after goal, and even made sure his other teammates were okay. Wow, what an amazing experience, I felt Goosebumps as he dribbled the ball, passed it, and scored. But the best Goosebumps came when he looked over to me and showed absolute elation in his smile!

It is days like this that I really miss my Dad. I miss him because I would have called him after the game and shared with him how proud I was of Dryver, and I would have known how proud he was also. More importantly, it reminds me of how proud he was of me when I was growing up and I would get excited about new things and would get involved. My Dad always told me how proud he was, he never forgot to tell me, I can remember almost every time.

I heard my Dad talking this evening when I was sitting in Dryver’s bed putting him to bed. I heard my Dad say ‘I am really proud of you chief, you did great out there today! I love you buddy!’ But, the voice wasn’t his this time, it was mine.

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