For the last two years, Ava has been standing on the sidelines watching her sister run up and down the field playing youth soccer, dying to get in there herself and mix it up. And I'll be damned if I didn't catch the coaches of the "big girl" teams glancing over every once in a while, silently wondering, "Uh, who exactly is that? Is she old enough to play?"
Well, at 9 a.m. this morning, she was. Ava had her first organized soccer practice, which was followed by a brief 15-minute "game" with another team. As we might have predicted, the first time she got close to the ball she took it all the way down the field - essentially unchallenged - and scored a goal. A few seconds later, she did it again. Then, in the finest tradition of Roberto Duran and Rickey Henderson, she bailed on the action and walked off the field in search of Gwen and water.
We may have some stamina and motivation issues to deal with - unlike Madison, who will run up and down the field for hours, determined to stay with the pack but content to never touch the ball - but the chances seem excellent that a certain squad called the Wildcats (guess where that name came from) might just be headed for an undefeated season, carried on the back of our little 4-year-old.