Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Canizares Ball!

Boy oh boy… it was definitely a jam packed weekend. If Saturday was occupied with Aiden’s soccer match; on Sunday we were at the Maybank Malaysian Open for Aiden’s second love after football… golf!

Hubby wanted to give Aiden first-hand experience witnessing professional golfers playing. And, though a golf fan I am not, I completely agreed with the idea, largely because I remembered my first time at the CIMB Classic, watching Tiger Woods play back in 2012. It was just surreal. I never understood the excitement of golf, especially when watching it on the television. But standing on the course, watching the tournament live; hearing the hush just before Tiger Woods takes his shot, and the anticipation of seeing this tiny ball roll into a hole…. It was just indescribable.

We timed it just right. As we walked into the course, the second last and last flight was in the midst of their 18th and 17th hole respectively. After watching the second last flight (which included the winner, Anirban Lahiri) take the second shot, we decided to walk against the flow and walk to the start of the 18th hole so that Aiden could catch the last flight tee off.

Aiden's first live tee-off.

Selfie at the start of the 18th hole.

I had to keep reminding Aiden to stay absolutely quiet (and still!), which is a huge thing to ask for from a five year old. Pointed out to him how the marshals were waving the quiet board, and explained to him that it acts as a reminder for everyone to keep quiet so that the players could concentrate when taking the shot. Thank goodness Ian was fast asleep in Hubby's arms.

Alejandro Cañizares was one of the players in the last flight, and after everyone had teed off, we started walking to the next hole with the rest of the spectators. Suddenly, his caddy called out to us. He must have called out to us a couple of times, because by the time Hubby turned to look at him, he was just turning away. Good thing he saw us, because he then threw a signed ball to Aiden! The ball rolled on the green right up to Aiden's shoes and when Aiden picked it up, a few fellow spectators actually asked to see it. What a rare opportunity!

Aiden watching Cañizares taking his shot.

Our Prime Minister also joined us in the walk towards the end of the 18th hole. He was literally just a few meters away from us; I bet if Aiden was bold enough to walk up to him for a picture, he would have willingly obliged.

Can you see the Prime Minister in white pants?

The game marshals kept having to stop people from going too close to the VIP entourage.

In the end, Lahiri won first prize, while Cañizares (now Aiden's new hero) tied for number three.

Cañizares taking his last shot.

What a tiring weekend!

Proudly showing off his Cañizares ball - although you cannot see his initials from this angle.

On the way out, we stopped for a quick picture by the golf course when a man (another avid golfer) struck up a conversation with Aiden. Aiden proudly showed him the Cañizares ball, when suddenly a mat salleh lady marshal came up to us to admire the ball too. Then she handed Aiden her quiet board for him to keep! Wow, two very special and rare souvenirs - what a great experience for Aiden! (I think these golf tournaments do not really attract the younger generation, hence it was probably quite refreshing to see a small child genuinely happy and excited to be on the golf course.)

The younger generation!

Weisberger was at second placing.

Aiden posing with his signed ball and quiet board.

The overall placing board.

Aiden goes for golf lessons every week now. I'm not expecting my son to be the next Tiger Woods, but as a supportive Mummy, I will do all I can to entertain his interests. Even if it means waiting on him during his weekly classes or standing on the golf course cheering his heroes on.

Aiden and his coach.

At the driving range.

The budding golfer! Certainly takes after his Daddy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Aiden's First Soccer Match - EPS Soccer Cup!

Aiden's first soccer match!

After just three weeks of soccer classes, Aiden's coach approached us (more like ran after us as we were already walking out of the class) to offer Aiden a spot in the upcoming EPS Soccer Cup. We said yes immediately, as we were quite eager to let Aiden experience playing soccer on a real soccer field. Hubby was most excited, he spent half hour every night training Aiden (indoors, mind you - oh my furniture!) and went shopping for shin guards and field boots.

The day finally arrived, and I was running around like a headless chicken trying to get everyone ready (the maid was on leave, hence the panic manic Mummy mode). Finally we got everyone bundled up in the car and arrived just 5 minutes after the stipulated arrival time. I dragged Aiden out to register while Hubby worked on parking the car. The field was full with cute kids (and enthusiastic parents) wearing their Erika Peres yellow jersey and blue shorts.

The event kicked off promptly at 9am with Erika herself giving a short and sweet welcome speech. Then everything went slightly downhill as they tried to split the kids into their respective teams. I waited for them to call out Aiden's team... and waited... and waited, until I got so impatient that I walked up to the coach to ask. Even his coach didn't know which team Aiden was supposed to go into (but at least he made an effort to try), and finally he managed to merge Aiden and a couple of other equally lost boys, into one team.I didn't recognize even a single boy in Aiden's team - none of them were from his class. But at least one of them was wearing goal keeper's gloves - so at least that boy knows what position he was going to play! Aiden on the other hand, didn't even know his role - striker, defender, midfield?

Welcome speech.

Spot me trying to get Aiden into the correct team.

Girl soccer players! So charming!

Finally, they got everything sorted out, and Aiden and his teammates were given bibs to wear over their jerseys. The soccer club had erected a couple of football goal posts by the field and some right smack in the middle of the field. Just his luck, Aiden was assigned to the one in the middle, so if we wanted to watch the kids play up close, we had to stand in the hot sun. Aaahhh, anything for our boy, so we set up camp by the edge of the play field.

Aiden and his teammates for the day.

Us camping in the hot sun.

Ian the boss had his own chair. I fed him with plenty of chips, which kept him occupied for quite awhile!

Anyway, here are my observations and short anecdotes from watching Aiden play:

  • He is super scared of confrontations! He knows that he needs to get the ball, but if the ball is already surrounded by 5-6 boys wrestling over it, he would prefer to stand back.
  • Like his mummy, he hates the sun. Even with a cap, he was perspiring heavily, and soon he took his cap off and shoved it to me in frustration.
  • Given his recent weight gain, he was heavy on his feet and had a low stamina. By the mid of the match he was already tired and soon gave up running and started walking after the ball! *grins*
  • Probably since he had attended only three classes prior to the match, Aiden didn't seem to understand the importance of getting the ball. Sometimes his focus would drift and he wouldn't even bother looking for the ball, preferring to look over to us and sometimes even wave! *ish ish ish
  • Passionate coaches! Aiden's coach kept a great balance of telling them off when they were slacking, but also encouraged them to do better and praised them when they did well.
  • Competitive kids - a kid actually screamed at Aiden "Are you sleeping!" because he missed blocking a ball that came his way. Aiden being the panas baran, actually pulled the boy's shirt in retaliation *shakes head*
  • Competitive parents too! Okay enough said!
  • During his last match, his coach asked him to become the goalkeeper (because the boy who was the goalkeeper then, burst into tears when he missed saving a goal... awwww...). Boy oh boy, Hubby and I were super stressed standing behind the goal post, reminding him to focus and look at the ball. We kept shouting at him to focus, till one point he turned and said "Stop talking, Mummy!"... and by the time he turned back, he missed saving a goal! *smacks head* I had to stop myself and remind myself that it is just a kids' soccer game! #competitiveasianmummy

Aiden and his lucky #5 bib.

Aiden keeping his distance from the group of kids wrestling for the ball *chuckles*

Expect falls, minor cuts and bruises on the field.

Knowing Aiden, he was probably shouting "Get the ball!" from afar!

Our very capable goalkeeper saving a goal.

Loads of action happening in front of the goal.

Water break!

Aiden taking a free kick!

Check out the distance between Aiden and the ball!

Aiden in action!

Celebrating their win at the penalty kick!

Despite Aiden's lack of experience, I guess beginners luck shone his way - because his team won third overall placing! We were already packing our things to go home when suddenly his coach told us that the team qualified for semi-finals. They then won the semi-finals by penalty (the losing team actually cried at their lost - see competitive kids above) and went on to the finals, where they lost to a very very strong team. My logic tells me that since they lost at the finals they should have gotten second placing, so I don't know what league scoring system they used to award Aiden's team third placement instead. Oh well, what's important is that Aiden and his team mates enjoyed themselves, and Aiden learned a lot through his experience on the field.

Overall, we were quite happy with the event, and hope that more events like this are organized in the future. Kudos Erika Peres Soccer! (I just need to make sure I slather on the sun block, and be mentally prepared to be three shades darker by the end of the match... *grin*)

Waiting in line for the prize giving ceremony.

The coveted trophies.

Congratulations and well done, Aiden!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Trial Classes at Erika Peres Soccer and Baby Swim

Ever since Aiden graduated from Gymboree, we have not enrolled him in any other regular classes. I wanted him to take up piano, but after one trial class in Yamaha, we decided that we would wait for him to be a bit more mature so that he can ultimately make the decision about what musical instrument he wants to play. (My heart is saying piano, to continue my piano playing legacy; my head is saying violin since the instrument is small and does not take much space in the house; last but note least, Hubby is banking on guitar as apparently it makes Aiden appear more macho! Oh well, we have at least a few years before we need to decide; I started serious piano classes at Standard 2 anyway!) Then we tried him for Taekwando, but then he started imitating the sparring moves at home, so we never went back. Swimming was completely out of the question, because Aiden is super scared of the water, and not to forget, he already has swimming classes at school.

This year, Aiden turns six, and Hubby and I both agreed that it was time to start Aiden on some routine classes. Two things that Aiden is currently interested in are soccer and golf. He enjoys watching football with his daddy during weekends, and loves following him to the driving range too! Ian on the other hand, is such a water baby. Bearing all of these in mind, I found the perfect classes for both of them them!

Erika Peres organizes trial classes for both Baby Swim and Soccer so I signed Ian and Aiden up for these classes respectively. Three weekends ago, we sent the boys for their first class! I chose both classes for the same day, but since they were both held at different locations, it meant that we had to drive from one class to another. Aaaa... anything for our boys!

Ian in his swimming gear while Aiden was all decked out in his complete football jersey outfit, knee high socks included.

The kids pool at Tropicana Golf and Country club. We held Aiden's first birthday here! Aaahhh certainly brings back memories...

First up, was Baby Swim. This 30-minute class is meant for babies above 1 year old with a maximum of 12 babies per session. However, in my opinion the timing of the class (2pm) wasn't really a great time to be outdoors, especially with babies. Imagine sun-tanning with babies with the sun right smack over our heads! Needless to say, Ian wasn't particularly happy about having to swim in the scorching hot sun, especially during his nap time too! (He slept on our way there, and was very grumpy when we woke him up for the class.)

Only two babies for the class that week. Check out that grumpy face.

Finally, just a hint of a smile. Then just like that - he was back to being grumpy.

Meanwhile, Abang Aiden and Daddy were enjoying themselves in the shade with nasi goreng and all!

Coach Mahni teaching the babies how to blow bubbles in the water. Ian was quite a champ, he gave it a try but ended up swallowing water instead!

Ooohhh Ian hated this part of the class, where the coach poured water on his head while we went under the "London Bridge". But, it was still a great exercise because it was meant to help him get accustomed to water and build his water confidence to prepare him for submerging his face inside the water.

Playing push the ball with his companion.
Poor Ian came out of the pool looking at least two shades darker than before. There were also certain activities that needed Ian to be face up while I walk backwards (exposure to swimming the backstroke) that further irritated him because he had to look up to the sun. Poor boy was squinting his eyes the whole time!

Putting the weather factor aside (I have moved him to the 10am class now!), it was a good class, with the usage of plenty of props and toys to make the session more interesting. I just hope Ian will enjoy the next class!

Aiden posing at the Tropicana Golf Club lobby while waiting for Daddy to get the car. Anyone knows where I can get the letters Aiden reprinted on his jersey? All those tumbling in the washing machine made the letters fall off! (Number 5 to signify his age when he received this birthday present from his favourite Angah!)

Next, we drove to The Club in Bukit Utama for Aiden's soccer class. This is a one hour class held indoors in an Astro Turf court (hence the use of futsal shoes instead of soccer boots). Since this was his first exposure to soccer, I decided to enroll him in Level 2 (4-6 years old) even though he would have qualified for Level 3 (6-8 years old). We arrived early so we had the chance to catch a glimpse of the Level 1 class (2-4 years old), and it was so much fun watching the smaller toddlers running around with the ball. Oh, it was no easy feat trying to get everyone to listen because they kept running in all different directions! Aiden, on the other hand, wasn't amused and kept asking when his class was going to start.

Tired Ian fast asleep by the football court.

In the background, the coach with the Level 1 toddlers.

Super excited and super pumped up!

Finally, after nearly an hour of waiting, the coach called Aiden in. There were only 4 kids in his class, but even with only 4 kids they had two coaches for that session. They advertised the coaches as being Brazillian - I cannot confirm neither deny that (because I didn't ask!), but they were certainly not local. They spoke to the kids in English so there wasn't any language barrier for Aiden. I even overheard Aiden asking his coach to repeat his instructions! (Aiden had a prior experience of going to a class where the coach spoke in Malay, and because he didn't understand, he completely drifted off. No focus whatsoever!) I am definitely glad we decided to send Aiden to this trial class.

Warm up run. The more experienced kids were very fast on their feet!

The two coaches in action.

The coaches taking the time to teach Aiden how stop the ball with his foot.

Victory dance from Aiden!

Getting ready to kick the ball

Look at that cheeky boy. The coaches stood back to discuss the next practice round, and that boy took the opportunity to give a thumbs up sign to his brother! Focus Aiden, focus!

Give Ian any empty bottle, and he will happily play with it quietly.

Passing the ball to his team mate.

Finally, a chance to shoot the ball into the goal!

The verdict? Aiden had so much fun that we immediately signed Aiden up for more classes. It was a great session; both coaches were enthusiastic and they varied each practice round to expose the boys to various moves such as passing, stopping, kicking and even running on their toes!

Aiden has since established a countdown to his next class - that's how much he is looking forward to his soccer classes. There is even a match next week... yup a real match on a football field. Even the parents are excited! Time to find my cheerleading outfit pom-poms! *grin*
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