Soccer


I never intended to be one of those….’soccer moms’. I don’t have the van. My kiddos aren’t part of any kind of a car pool. I respectfully remained my distance during practices and games. I never try to tell the coach what to do with my child or where to play my child on the team. I generally do not yell at the ref. I just don’t really fit all – or any – of this comedic references to ‘soccer moms’. I have two kiddos who play soccer however. One has played since he was four and we discovered that he had no interest in baseball – via tee ball. He didn’t like the wait time while players took a turn at bat. He was much more interested in finding the honeysuckle flowers in the field around him. Given that his daddy is a sports nut, and wanted him to play something, we tried floor hockey and soccer. Soccer stuck to my son like glue. He loved the game and he was good at it. He had more body cooridination than most of his team mates so he was generally the one that got the goals. He had found his niche.

My daughter came to us from a Russian orphanage at the age of five. Her brother was six and a half. She made him crazy copying his every move and every word. We decided to find her own little world away from his soccer. We tried ballet (too slow), gymnastics (too much time between tricks), ice skating (loved the speed but disliked the instructional times) and horse back riding (fine till she saw a classmate fall against a fence during a horse show). She wanted to play soccer.

During one of her brother’s indoor games when she was eight, she was juggling a ball to pass the time and was spotted by a coach from another club. He was surprised that she wasn’t committed to a team and invited her to practice with his. And then to play with his team. She has been playing with him for the past two and a half years. Her brother also decided to switch clubs and joined her there. Sigh.

So now I drive an hour each way, three evenings a week for practice. Several other evenings and most weekends throughout the year are devoted to games and/or tournaments. Sometimes my husband heads in one direction with one child and I head in another with the other. We get giddy with excitement about soccer shoe sales. We buy Gatorade by the case. My car stinks of sweaty shin guards and goalie gloves. The back seat floor is covered with empty bottles and smooshed Icee cups…..and an occasional sock. Our dinner table conversation – that is when we are able to have dinner together – is generally spiced with sport words like punt and goal and dribble and score. Out of town tournaments mean gas and hotel fees…and the gratuity to pay for the professional coach’s fees as well.

There are lots of times when I long for the days of recreational soccer. These were days when your coach was usually a Mom or a Dad blessed with patience. There were schedules to follow to provide orange slices and juices and snacks after a game. Parents lined up to make a victory arch for all the kids to run through after shaking hands with their opponents. Parents spent more time talking to one another than they did watching the game. The good old days.

This is a Merry go Round that looked like a lot of fun in the beginning. Now that we are on, it’s darn tough to get off. Sigh. I guess, maybe, I am one of them after all. Soccer mom. Heh.

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