soccer team photo

Staying home can be tough for active kids.

Michael Wrenn has two sons, 6-year-old Bennett and 4-year-old Braeden. Last year, Braeden got to watch his older brother play soccer. When it came time for his turn, in the YMCA Youth Sports 2020 fall season, he was excited.

“I think he knew he would have fun when he started,” says Michael. “But it was really evident how his confidence grew each passing week. By the end of the season, he was predicting how many goals he’d score each week.”

Braeden’s parents enjoyed seeing his competitive side come out—other than just against his older brother at home. But it took a while for Braeden and his teammates to get used to practicing. “At the beginning of the year, he and his friends were wrestling more than practicing," Michael shares. "But, by the end of the season, they were able to work on specific drills.”

Sharing their success

Braeden scored his first goal during his first game. “It was great to see him light up,” Michael shares. “He immediately ran to the sideline to give me a high-five.”

Michael and his wife were happy to see a positive result from the investment Braeden had made in practice, but they were more excited to watch him having fun after such an unusual year with the pandemic. Part of the fun included a little brotherly competition to see who could score the most goals each week. Then one Saturday, Michael and his wife witnessed another side of the special bond their sons had developed through playing sports. “Both of our boys had eight o'clock games. Braeden’s was at the Y, and Bennett’s was at Crockett Park. As soon as they were finished, both boys asked how their brother’s game went. And, each one asked for an extra Gatorade from team snacks [to bring to their brother]. It was really nice to see their thoughtfulness coming through.”

soccer player with snacks

Sense of normalcy

For Michael, the decision to enroll their kids in fall sports came from a desire for a safe activity that could feel a little like years past. “We felt comfortable enrolling our boys in the Y’s soccer program. We knew precautions would be in place, and we also knew that our kids needed a sense of normalcy,” Michael says. “Being able to have them participate in practices and games with other kids—and have that social aspect—is very important.”

While they were thankful to have the boys out playing with kids their own ages, Michael also shared the sense of relief from a parental perspective. “We were just as happy to talk to other parents and see our community do something that was considered ‘normal’ in a safe manner.”