So You Gave Your Toddler A Ball

So You Gave Your Toddler A Ball

And that's all you can do.
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I get it. I understand. You played soccer, basketball or baseball all through school. You knew before the conversation of actually having kids came up that your kids would play your sport of choice. You knew that they would excel beyond your wildest dreams and they would run with the sport to places you never got the chance to. I get it. But what if I told you it’s that not that easy.

My husband played soccer for twelve years and still signs up for the Murfreesboro Soccer League every now and then. Before we actually had kids, when having kids was just a thought bubble in future years, he actually said that our kids would play soccer. I would rather them play softball or be perfecting their pirouettes in a cute leotard, but it’s not up to me. Surprise, it’s not up to my husband either.

When you give a toddler a ball (or a leotard), many things can happen. You can push the child to play a sport they have no interest in. You can make such a big deal about winning or losing that they don’t see the fun. You can drill in their little innocent heads that they have to succeed in the game or they’ll practice until they’re perfect. All of these scenarios generate negative outcomes. No child wants to play with the pressure of not failing.

If you decide that you are going to give your toddler a ball, or leotard, be supportive. Show them the fun side first. Show them how being on a field in cleats or on a wooden floor with dance shoes can change their life. Show them how they can excel and go anywhere with it. Let them know that winning and losing isn’t the only objective in a game, but to be your best at all times. They need to know that mistakes can happen. Not making the goal isn’t the end of their life and not landing the sashay leap in perfect form doesn’t have to kill the passion.

Encourage them to play any and all sports. Let them play the field. Let them pick out the sport that makes their heart happy. Let them take the reins and find their first love in the form of a sport. You can’t force happiness on anyone just like you can’t force your toddler to enjoy the same sports you do. Your toddler isn’t going to come out being the perfect player overnight. They aren’t going to be signing up for the pros in a matter of a season. You as a parent, need to remember that while it is just a game, it’s also your toddler’s future that you’re forming.

So give your toddler a ball. Or a leotard. Or a bat. Let them figure out if they’re going to have the passion. Let them see if their first love involves a bat or a pair of cleats. And when they miss the goal or don’t catch the ball, don’t dwell on it. Gloss past it and let them know they were awesome. Their future may depend on it.

Cover Image Credit: Clip Art Fest

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Ronaldinho: A Gift From The Soccer Gods

It was always exciting to see him wearing that iconic number 10 on his back.

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Watching soccer over the years, I think as fans we have been fortunate to see transcendent talents like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As great as they are, I don't know if I could ever say they were my favorite players to follow all the time. Its kind of like both Messi and Ronaldo have become the generic response for anyone who briefly talks about soccer because of their reputation and popularity. Similar to how Michael Jordan is well known in basketball or Tiger Woods is thought of in golf. The player I always admired to watch growing up was definitely the magnificent talent that was Ronaldinho.

Growing up seeing someone like Ronaldinho play soccer was out of this world. He had skill moves that would make your jaw drop. Just the way he'd be able to move the ball and place it in areas unreal to the naked eye was pure entertainment. Ronaldinho had balance, elegance, and swagger every time he stepped onto the field. He is one of only seven players to have ever won a FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League title and a Ballon d'Or award. Honestly, it has not been the same since he left the beautiful game back in 2015. Sure, he wasn't the greatest player to ever live or the most prestigious, but I would say Ronaldinho was certainly iconic.

He was a spectacle for the soccer world and I don't think there will be any other player quite like him to be on a pitch ever again. Brazil has been able to produce legends over the years like Pele, Kaka, and Ronaldo. Ronaldinho is definitely one of the athletes on my bucket list to meet someday. His legacy will forever be cemented as one of the greats in my book.

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