Son D. is on his first real soccer team. It's a U-4 team (kids 4-years-old and under, for you non-soccer-moms out there.) His particular team is mostly 3-year-old girls.
His last game was on Mother's Day, and he was the only boy and the only 4 year old playing that day. Just him and the 3 year old girls.
*Every* time he got the ball on Sunday, he passed it to one of the girls. Every single time. Now, these girls are adorable and lovely...but they are not really into the soccer part yet. They'd much rather count clovers or wave to their moms than kick the ball. They are 3, after all. (D is 4 1/2 - almost 5.)
D. would get the ball. He'd pass to the girls. They'd smile a glorious smile at him as the opposing team swooped down to steal the ball. Every time.
Luckily, they don't keep an official score at this level. The opposing team was all older boys. And they took the ball and ran right for the goal at every opportunity they got. They didn't pass. They didn't even look around. They just scored. I think the score must have been 30 - 0 or something like that by half time. (I could ask D. - he keeps score in his head. Every game, he knows EXACTLY how many goals each team scored.)
It was getting a bit embarrassing - this lopsided score. So, at one of the breaks, I whispered to him: "D, you can run with the ball, you know. You don't have to pass it every time."
He looked at me in horror. "But Mama - the girls are my TEAM. You have to play with your TEAM! We all have to play together, Mama."
I hugged him tightly to my chest and told him that he was exactly right.
In a few years, I suspect he may very well be one of those aggressive boys who want to score a goal at all costs. But I'll always remember my Mother's Day gift of 2007: a sweet son who reminded me that winning isn't everything.