It is finally starting to cool down, leaves are changing, and in the late afternoon parks flood with children in shin guards, running, and kicking soccer balls through endless arrangements of cones.  There is something about this time of year I absolutely love; it gets darker earlier, sweatshirts are need for evening events, and there is a smell in the air that feels like home.  I am instantly transported to my childhood soccer practices, the years I coached my siblings’ soccer teams, and weekend tournaments with some amazing girls. 

This year is different.  I still love this time of year, the weather, the overall feeling, but seeing the kids play soccer breaks my heart.  Addie will not be able to play organized soccer.  With Addie’s diagnosis of Pendred Syndrome, she cannot play contact sports.  Her hearing loss is progressive and hard impact, especially any to the head, can cause her hearing to go faster and more severe.  In our opinion, the risks outweigh the gains, so soccer is out.

A year ago I wasn’t sure if I wanted Addie to play soccer.  I was afraid of being overbearing and letting my previous experiences get the best of me.  Now, soccer is not an option, and all I see when I pass the fields are experiences that Addie will not get to partake in.  The practices, scrimmages, games, and out of town tournaments will never be an option.  There are other sports, her favorite sport, baseball, is still an option, but this year I am still dealing with the reality that my little mini-me, will not have the chance at playing the sport that occupied most of free time during my childhood. 

For now, I will embrace backyard soccer sessions, just the two of us, and as she gets older and tries different activities, I will encourage and learn about what ever path she takes.  Why wouldn’t I?  My parents didn’t know a thing about soccer when I started playing, but by the time my sister started playing, they were season veterans.  I may be a little sad that she will never play soccer like I did, but I look forward to learning something new and watching her in “her” element.