It was a very chilly morning at kids' soccer yesterday. As Marcus and 4 or 5 other boys knocked the ball around to warm up, Ali stood still scowling with his hands over his frozen ears. I had taken along a wide range of warm things, so I got out my scarf and offered to wrap it around his head. He was keen, so I wound it around over his ears and tucked it into itself, and off he went to join in the warm up.
Then I thought to myself "Great. I have effectively put a turban on the only Muslim kid. Way to go, Stereotype Man". He loved it so much he asked if he could keep it on when the game started.
I was so relaxed compared to previous weeks, because I only had 9 players, and didn't have to worry about substitutions (it's 9-a-side). Watching the clock and doing the sums to make sure everyone gets a fair go is quite stressful, and detracts from actually watching the game.
I felt even better when we scored our 2nd goal of the season about 2 minutes in, a really impressive determined effort by young Blake, who went to ground and had to get up again twice to finally get it past the keeper. Within ten minutes Ali had scored twice, and we were on course for our first win. That turned out to be the final score, but it was a really good effort from everyone for the whole game.
Later that day my Over 35s triumphed 4-0 over Barnstoneworth, and the night before my agéd indoor soccer team won a tight one 9-8. So it was a sensational soccer trifecta - something I hoped would come along some time this season.
Today (after Central Region squad training in freezing rain) Marcus attended Ali's birthday party. We gave him some Lego and a woolly beanie.