At a kindergarten soccer game this weekend, I noted how the coaches let the kids keep kicking the ball even when it goes out of bounds. This is probably because the ball is so often out of bounds; the kids might never get sustained playing time otherwise.
At one point, the ball rolled over to where my family was sitting. A little boy—the littlest, in fact—came running after his teammates, yelling: “Out of balance! Out of balance!”
We spectators giggled amongst ourselves: “Out of balance. So cute.”
The tiny guy stopped to look at us in all earnestness: “Out of balance means the ball is not on the court.” And he took off across the field after his kindergarten teammates, who’d managed to get the ball back in bounds, momentarily.
As we wiped the mirth streaming from our eyes, I thought about something a former mentor told me years ago about accepting approximations. It’s clear this little boy knows what he’s talking about. The ball was beyond the boundaries of the playing field. Never mind there wasn’t actually a court…basketball has a court, tennis has a court…he is learning. He’s in kindergarten. He will soon learn the word is bounds and that soccer is played on a field.
Certainly he will need to know the right terminology. But for now, let him develop some stamina and skills. Let him learn to be a team player. Let him love the game.
Truth is, in order to grow, sometimes things need to be kicked out of balance.
with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge