The four-legged dinosaur soccer player: a bedtime story for kids

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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(A bedtime story for kids that mixes dinosaurs and soccer, two of Leah’s favourite things).

All his life Herb had been told soccer was a game for two-legged dinosaurs. His four legs, he had heard, would be too clumsy and he wouldn’t be able to kick the ball from his back feet to his front feet.

He had heard this so many times that he hadn’t ever bothered to find out if soccer was, in fact, too hard for a four-legged dinosaur to play. Every day at recess, he watched his two-legged friends play and sometimes even got a kick out of Terry, who, while he had wings, also only had two feet, and so played soccer very well even from the air.

Then, once the recess bell rang, he congratulated his friends on how well they had played.

“Good job on scoring so many goals,” he’d say to anyone who had scored a goal. And “good goal stopping,” he’d say to anyone who had stopped a shot.

And they’d say, “it’s too bad you have so many legs. We’d love to have you play.” And Herb would nod and walk back to class with his head held a little lower than all the others.

One day, as he sat in class, his head a little lower than everyone else’s, he saw a spider playing in the corner of his desk. He watched the spider intently as it started to weave a web. Using eight legs, it spun its thread from one corner to another, not stopping until he was happy.

Herb thought about this for a moment.

“A spider has eight legs and can build something as beautiful as that web in no time at all. Surely, I with four legs, can kick a soccer ball.”

The next day at recess, Herb walked out with the rest of the group. The rest of the dinosaurs walked onto the soccer field as usual. But not as usual, Herb walked on with them.

“Are you playing today, even with all those legs Herb?” another dinosaur asked.

“Yes, I think I’ll give my legs a try.”

Herb expected a bigger fuss but none of the other dinosaurs tried to stop him from playing. And within five minutes, no two-legged dinosaur could possibly have had any problem with Herb’s soccer playing. He scored the first, second and third goal, kicking the ball from his back feet to the front, a move no goalie had ever seen. Then he scored the fifth, sixth and seventh goal. By the time the recess bell rang, he had scored 17 goals, more than he could remember any player scoring before.

Even being the best player on the soccer field, Herb remembered to congratulate everyone on a game well played.

“Good goals,” he told the dinosaurs who had scored. “Good saves,” he told the dinosaurs who had made stops.

And they all walked back to class, but this time Herb held his head higher than any other dinosaur in his class.

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