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Tales Of The Redhead (Boy)

By Wyatt Earp | April 27, 2009

kyle-lax* Since Julia arrived, I had to clarify the redhead status. Both Kyle (8) and Julia (4 mos) are redheads. My bad.

So, after last week’s lacrosse game, Kyle said his feet really hurt. The missus checked his cleats and they looked fine. Besides, they are not even a year old. She then looked at the size, and it said 13.

Kyle is currently wearing a 1 1/2 shoe. Dang.

So, I took the boy to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get him some new soccer/lacrosse cleats. He found a pair he really liked. They fit well, but more importantly: they “looked cool.” Sold! To be on the safe side, I bought him a size 2, so we didn’t have the same problem in a few months.

Kyle wore the cleats to his next soccer practice and came home worse than before. Apparently, the cleats were a little big – even though he said they were okay and his toe was near the end – and they weren’t broken in. The raised heel part of the shoe dug into his ankle, causing a blister and a small cut. Dammit.

On Saturday, I took Kyle to lacrosse practice, and chalked up the blister to the new shoes. We bandaged his ankle, and wrapped it up to make it more comfortable. After an hour at practice, he said his foot hurt. I asked him if he wanted to leave the practice, and he said no.

Now, I’m no sadist. I certainly don’t want my son to be in pain, but I was sure that the pain was due to the original blister. I would try and fix him up better before his soccer game on Sunday. When he was wearing his regular sneakers – also new, by the way – he was fine. I could only go with what he told me.

So, Sunday comes along, and we get to the soccer game. The game was at noon, and by then the temperature was approaching 90 degrees. He was already miserable, and came to me before the game and said he had a little pain in the ankle again. The shoe was rubbing the blister. I told him that it was okay to sit out the game because he was hurt, and he looked at me like I had three heads. “No way, Dad. I’m playing!”


During the game, I was assigned to the sideline flag. I waved the flag when the ball went out-of-bounds. I’d rather focus my energy on cheering on the boy, but this was okay. Immediately, I see Kyle limping onto the field at his first shift. I told his coach about the injury beforehand, and he said he would limit his time. He didn’t start Kyle, for which I was thankful.

Now, Kyle goes full bore in practice and games. He has played through pain before, and I know he didn’t want to let the team down. I talk to him about responsibility, and apparently he listens to me. Who knew? When the whistle blew, he took off like a shot. No sign of the pain.

Unfortunately, his team showed no signs of hustle, either. It might have been the heat, or it might have been laziness, but Kyle’s team did not look like the world beaters they sometimes are. At the half, they were down 2-1. I talked to Kyle at halftime, and he said his foot hurt a little, but he wasn’t sitting. No way.

The second half starts and he is sitting on the bench. Thank God. When he gets onto the field for his first shift, he hustles fairly well. A few minutes into the shift, the ball comes to me at the sideline. Kyle hustles after it, and when the whistle blows, he looks at me and says, “Dad, I can’t do it anymore. I have to come out.” He’s devastated, and I feel like the worst father on Earth for letting it get to this point.

I tell Kyle to go to Coach Dave and tell him that he needs to come out during the next substitution. Unlike hockey, soccer players can only come out of the game at certain times. Kyle hobbles over, tells the coach, and stands there.

The game is still going on.

I want to yell, “Kyle, you have to keep playing until the ref allows the sub!” but what good would that do. Then, in a stroke of genius, Kyle’s coach says, “Sit down on the field.” Kyle does, and his coach yells to the ref, “We have a player down.” This stops the play and gets the substitution Kyle desperately needs. It’s a legitimate call, because Kyle is really hurt, and he comes off the field.

Kyle’s team went on to lose the game by a score of 2-1, and when I got to Kyle after the game, his show was off and he was hopping on one foot over to me. I wanted to cry. This was my fault, and I should have kept him of the field. But that damned “responsibility” crap got the better of me, and I made a mistake.

We were walking to the car with his snack and Powerade, and I told him we were going back to Dick’s to get him different cleats. At least until he was truly a size 2. While we were looking for something he liked, he turned to me and started crying. I hugged him and asked, “What’s wrong?” and he said that he felt bad for coming out of the game and letting the team down.

What do you say to that?

The only thing I could come up with was, “Kyle, you didn’t let your team down. You played half a soccer game running back and forth on an injured foot. When I asked you if you wanted to sit out the game, you said no. If anything, your team and your coaches were probably proud of your effort, and effort means more than results.”

Amazingly, that worked. When we came home, the missus cleaned up the blister and the cut, and had him take a long bath. Hopefully, he’ll be back to 100% by Thursday’s soccer practice. I know he will demand to be there.

I love that boy.

Topics: The Boys | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Tales Of The Redhead (Boy)”

  1. J.BIROS Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Way to go Kyle!

    Sometimes being a Dad and making the right decision is tough.
    So is finding the right thing to say, you did good Wyatt.

  2. dragonlady474 Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    The word dedication comes to mind. What a great kid, and what great parents. :)

  3. Doghouse Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    You can only go by what they say. Your answer was the best thing you could have said in that situation.

    Hope he heals soon – and likes his newest pair of shoes.

  4. The Girl You Don't Bring Home to Momma Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Awww, I love your boy too !!!!!!! He’s going to be a great athlete, and you are so not the typical sports parent, you should be proud of yourself !!! Way to go DAD !

  5. Petey Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    He has learned several good lessons.

    An option to try.
    When I played football in high school, a lot of guys had problems with blisters on the back of their heel. The trainer (a licensed Physical Therapist) would ask before taping ankles if you wanted a blister wrap. Worked great.

    He used 2nd Skin burn pads. Not the blister pad-they’re too small. Use the big 2″x3″ size pads. They are a thin plastic sheet with a gel-like substance, made from sterile solution, on one side.

    Simply peel and place the pad on the blister, then wrap with pre-wrap and tape to hold in place. You’ll avoid the added irritation and be able to function like you don’t have a blister at all.

  6. Echosix Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Give that kid a hug and a punch on the arm from me. He appears to be a helluva kid.

    Ya done sumpthin right, Wyatt.

  7. RT Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Awww….Kyle is an awesome little guy (as are all your kids). I think you handled it well, and he wanted to keep trying. You also had a good response for him when he became upset. :)

    Neosporin? (Eh…not a mom, but that’s my answer to everything. Heh.)

  8. ArkieRN Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    What a great kid!

  9. Wyatt Earp Says:
    April 27th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    J. BIROS – Thanks, but it didn’t feel like it at the time.

    DL474 – Thank you. He is a terrific kid who really puts a lot of effort into everything he does.

    Doghouse – He likes them. They’re the same as his previous pair – before the larger ones. He also got to pick out a pair of soccer socks. He chose purple – his favorite color. He said that he doesn’t mind if his clothes don’t match at practice.

    TGYDBHTM – Thanks, much. After coaching high school lacrosse for 17 years (currently at North Catholic), I have seen my share of bad sports parents. I couldn’t care less if Kyle’s team wins. I just want to see effort and fun.

    Petey – Thank you. We’ll try it for Thursday night’s practice and see how it feels.

    Echosix – Mom, not me. I’m the circus clown of the family.

    RT – Rub some dirt on it!!!

    ArkieRN – Thank you!