xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: My short stint as a Soccer Mom

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My short stint as a Soccer Mom

Not actually me or either of my kids
I was pregnant with Child 2 when we bought our minivan, and I knew then that it would just be a matter of time: Two boys, minivan, house in the suburbs... one day.... I would be a soccer mom.

I accepted my fate because I assumed it was inevitable, and I waited for the day that I would need to sign somebody up. But then Child 1 and the autism thing happened and no way is that kid going to play organized sports, unless there's a new "Run Back and Forth, Jump Up and Down and Flap Your Hands" competition invented (and who knows what the future holds? I just signed him up for a "neurodiversity-friendly" martial arts class).

Okay, well, not that first kid, then; let's see what happens with Child 2. It was funny because starting from about age 3, people started asking me "are you planning on signing him up for soccer?" as if it was some mandatory rite of passage in the life of a suburban kid (whose mom drives a minivan). I always said it would be up to him, I certainly wasn't going to force myself into a life of cleats and orange slices if I didn't absolutely have to.

The day finally came, of course, when the flyer came home announcing Spring sign-ups. In this case it was handed to me by the mom of C2's BFF, whose father would be the coach of the team. I didn't even have to ask him, I knew he would want to do it.

So.... I signed him up. You do everything online (nice). $300 for the season, but I could get $100 back if I spend 8 hours volunteering. (Yes, that's $12.50/hour. Yes, I would make way more than that if I spent those 8 hours working. No, I didn't do any volunteer hours. No I didn't get any money back).

The next step was to go to Sports Authority and purchase necessary soccer gear. I probably could have scoured garage sales or begged for hand-me-downs to save money, but I waited until the last minute and ultimately had no choice but to spend top dollar on soccer crap. I mean clothes. No, I had it right the first time.

Shorts (mandatory!), shin guards (mandatory!), cleats (mandatory!) and these crazy fucking socks that are longer than my goddamn arm that, to this day, I don't understand, but, of course... mandatory. You don't even want to know how much that cost; I don't want to talk about it. Then I had to go to the league offices and purchase an official jersey (mand- yeah, you get the idea). I was instructed to "buy big" because that way he could wear it for a few years. Yeah.

Clothing purchased! Next up: practices! Schedule coordinating! Other child coordinating! Driving here and there with this kid and that kid (in the minivan, so it was kosher).  And finally? GAMES! YAY!!!

"What does 'Most Improved Player' mean?"
"It means you started out sucking and you got
juuuuuuuuuuuuust a little bit better."
The first thing I received at our first game were the "Rules for Sideline Behavior," which I needed to acknowledge receipt of via my signature. (I guess that was for when I sued them later for calling the cops on me). Said rules included such gems as "Only registered team officials may talk to referees. Refrain from questioning their decisions or challenging their authority" and my personal favorite "Maintain control of your emotions and avoid actions, language, and/or gestures that may be interpreted as hostile or humiliating." Whatever. I wasn't going to let the man tell me how to behave....

So, the game starts, and even with keeping reasonable expectations for the performance of a 5 year old playing soccer for the first time... this kid sucked at soccer. The ball would come towards him and he would duck and run the other way.  Or he would stand there and watch as it went flying past him. The one time he actually kicked the ball, he then said to the coach "I kicked the ball! I'm going to go tell my mom!" and tried to run off the field but had to be stopped and reminded that he was in the middle of a game. Half the time was spent just standing on the field and chatting with the other players, and he would often cheer for the kids on the other team. I'm pretty sure I heard him say "No, you can kick it, I kicked it last time."

After that first game it was pretty clear that this kid was not competitive enough for competitive sports. I actually think that's a good thing, so we just spent the rest of the season with no expectations; every Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning he would spend an hour running back and forth and having fun with his buddies, there's nothing wrong with that! Exercise! Fresh air! Socializing! I knew the game would eventually get more competitive as the kids got older and that I was not, in fact, destined to be a soccer mom after all. Sad face.

The season ended (everybody gets a trophy!!! YAYY!!) and there was talk of what everybody would do next year. There were 2 options and his little friends were picking the one that you do when you can play. He didn't want to play unless he could play with those particular friends and when given the choice, he opted out. (Actually he says "Mama, I slept on it and I decided 'no' on the soccer question.") Fine with me, man! In the meantime I'd had to buy a new pair of cleats because he had already fucking outgrown the first ones I got, a new pair of shin guards because I have no clue what happened to the other ones, and THREE more pair of those crazy ass long-as-my-arm socks.

Soccer is too expensive. If all he wants to do is run back and forth with his little friends, he can fucking do that for free at the park, dammit!

I think we'll try gymnastics next. How much can that cost?

image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net